There are four authentic portraits in existence of Sir Isaac Newton. Newton was a renowned scientist who made numerous contributions. He was an astronomer, mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and alchemist. He is perhaps best known for his laws of motion. He was born in England in 1642 and died in 1727.
Portrait #1, Godfrey Kneller, 1689
Portrait #1 was painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1689. Kneller is also the artist for Portrait #2, painted in 1702. Kneller (1646-1723) was born in England. He was the top English portrait painter of his time. He also served as the court painter for British monarchs from the ruling of Charles II to George I.
Portrait #2, Godfrey Kneller, 1702
Sir James Thornhill painted Portrait #3 in 1712. Thornhill (1676-1734) was an English artist. He painted historical subjects and was highly influenced by the Italian Baroque style. In addition to being an accomplished artist, Thornhill was a member of Parliament from 1722 to 1734.
Portrait #3, Sir James Thornhill, 1712
Portrait # 4 was painted by John Vanderbank. The portrait was painted the year of Newton's death, 1726. Vanderbank (1694-1739) was from England. He was known for his portraits and book illustrations.
Portrait #4, John Vanderbank, 1726
There are four post mortem portraits of Isaac Newton that should be mentioned. James McArdell portrayed Newton in 1760 in a mezzotint. William Blake depicted Newton in 1795 using pen, ink and watercolor. A line engraving was done by Burnet Reading in 1799. Lastly, John Goldar portrayed Newton in a line engraving modeling the portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller. The date of this work is unknown.
It is very possible that there are additional portraits of Newton in existence. The scientist was frequently portrayed in life and after death. Still wondering about a portrait in your family collection? Contact us... it could be a portrait of Sir Isaac Newton.