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Portrait Medallion - Sir William Herschel - c.1780

Portrait Medallion - Sir William Herschel
    Portrait Medallion - Sir William Herschel

Portrait Medallion of Sir William Herschel (15 November 1738-25 August 1822), English astronomer. He was appointed private astronomer to King George III and knighted in 1816.

Portrait Medallion of Sir William Herschel, English astronomer. He was appointed private astronomer to King George III and knighted in 1816. Herschel's main discovery was infrared radiation but work included an improved determination of the rotation period of Mars, the discovery that the Martian polar caps vary seasonally, the discovery of Titania and Oberon (moons of Uranus) and Enceladus and Mimas (moons of Saturn). Herschel was made a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order in 1816. He was the first President of the Royal Astronomical Society when it was founded in 1820. He died in August 1822. The portrait shown may be attributed to Lochee on the evidence of his fine bust of Herschel in the National Portrait Gallery.

  • Type of object: Plaques and medallions/portrait medallion
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD
    [Impressed]
    HERSCHEL
    [pencil on the reverse]
  • Year produced: c.1780
  • Body: Jasper
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: dipped
  • Accession number: 11668

Related people

  • Sir William Herschel Subject

    Sir William Herschel - Subject (1738 - 1822)

    Sir Frederick William Herschel was a German-born British Astronomer,technical expert and composer. Born in Hanover in 1738, he emigrated to Britain at the age of 19. He is credited with the discovery of the planet Uranus and two of it's moons, along with two of Saturn's moons. Herschel was the first person to discover radiation. He also composed 24 symphonies! Sir William spent most of his life living in the Buckinghamshire town of Slough, where respect for him and his works is evidenced by numerous memorials to this day - including a new bus station in 2011. He died in 1822.

Glossary

  • Portrait Medallion

    Portrait Medallion

     

    A medallion, either circular or oval, made usually from black basalt or jasper, which features a head or head and shoulders study, rather than a relief of a classical nature.