Portrait of a gentleman in his study with scientific instruments, c 1750.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil painting on canvas showing a gentleman in his study posed with his scientific instruments. Unsigned and formerly attributed to Richard Wilson, or the School of Longhi, the work is dated to around 1750. During the 18th century it was popular for aristocrats to learn and be well versed in the sciences. In this portrait the sitter is shown next to a planetary model called an orrery (table), a mariner's astrolabe (hook on shelf) and a microscope wedged between books. Mathematical instruments shown include a cone model next to the orrery and half a protractor hanging from the shelf. On the same bookshelf a small portion of a celestial globe is visible at top right of the composition.