Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman (Previously Identified as Nevil Maske – Royal Museums Greenwich Shop
Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman (Previously Identified as Nevil Maskelyne, Astronomer Royal 1732-1811)

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman (Previously Identified as Nevil Maskelyne, Astronomer Royal 1732-1811)

2895 £28.95 Sale

Product details

Overall size of this product is 30 × 40 cm.
The image area of the print measures 22 × 29 cm.

Although acquired as a portrait of Nevil Maskelyne, fifth Astronomer Royal at Greenwich (1765 -1811), the late Derek Howse, former Head of Astronomy at NMM and Maskelyne's biographer, firmly believed that this portrait is misidentified on the basis of its great dissimilarity to Louis van der Puyl's undoubted Maskelyne portrait of 1785 owned by the Royal Society. Van der Puyl shows him in clerical dress (black with bands) appropriate to his formal status as a clerk in Holy Orders, rather than in the civil attire here, and against the background of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. This otherwise fine portrait against a classical column is therefore probably another astronomer, so far unidentified.

Artist: John Downman

Date: 1779


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