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Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen. Oil painting by Ernest Board, 1912.

  • Board, Ernest, 1877-1934.
Date
[1912]
Reference
45903i
  • Pictures

Selected images from this work


About this work

Description

Priestley (1733-1804), radical politician, chemist and Nonconformist minister, is portrayed playing backgammon in his house in Birmingham when he received the news that it was about to be attacked by an anti-radical mob. The attacks took place on 14-16 July 1791, and the library, furnishings and equipment represented in the present painting were all destroyed. Priestley himself fled to Hackney

On the back wall is an indistinct portrait of a man wearing a sash. Priestley, seated on the left, holds what looks like a jeweller's eyeglass. Behind him is a machine for experiments with gases (an airpump?). On the right a man enters the room with news of the rioters

Publication/Creation

[1912]

Physical description

1 painting : oil on canvas ; canvas 61.5 x 91 cm

Creator/production credits

Commissioned by Henry S. Wellcome for the Wellcome Gallery of Portraits, 1912

References note

Handbook of the Historical Medical Museum organised by Henry S. Wellcome, London 1913, p. 23, no. 61 ("Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen (1733-1804) – [Ernest Board] "Dr. Priestley and his wife, while engaged in a game of backgammon, were warned by a friend of the approach of the mob, which afterwards broke into his house at Birmingham and destroyed his manuscripts, books and philosophical apparatus.")

Reference

Wellcome Library no. 45903i


Where to find it

  • Location

    Closed stores

    Access

    By appointment

    Note

    Researchers are encouraged to first refer to the digital copy when available. Any requests for physical access to the item should be sent to library@wellcomecollection.org for review by our teams. Please note that for viewing particularly fragile original items a strong research case should be made, and requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis

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