Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart.

This engraving of a photograph shows John Frederick William Herschel (1792-1871) seated, with his right elbow resting on a table as he looks, thoughtfully, into the middle distance. On the table by his arm is an unspecified book. This portrait demonstrates the degree of personal fame that Herschel had achieved by the middle of the century, through his popular science writing, his experimental work, his cataloguing of nebulae, double stars and star clusters of the southern hemisphere, his brief career as master of the Mint and his contributions to various scientific society and governmental committees. Even by 1830 it was said that to be a scientist meant to be 'as much like John Herschel as possible', and by 1860 he was a household name. In 1867, the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron produced an iconic image of Herschel as the abstracted, other-worldly man of science (PAH6067).

This portrait comes from a series entitled “The Drawing Room Portrait Gallery of Eminent Personages” published by the Illustrated News of the World. From the 1840s there was a rapid increase in the number of heavily illustrated popular weekly newspapers and periodicals on the market in Britain. One of the most successful was the Illustrated London News, which spawned many imitators, including the Illustrated News of the World which lasted only 5 years (1858-1863).

Object Details

ID: PAD3683
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Mayall, John Jabez Edwin; Pound, Daniel J.
Date made: 1858-1863
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Herschel Collection
Measurements: Mount: 412 mm x 285 mm

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