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This warmly toned portrait shows the sitter at half-length, seated on a high-backed wooden chair. Holman is painted half face, looking to the viewer’s right, his left arm around the chair back. The subject is bearded, wearing a black jacket, white waistcoat and shirt with black tie and grey trousers. In his right hand is a round-topped cane, light in colour, possibly ivory. The background is filled with crimson drapery, with mountains or hills and a sunset directly behind Holman’s right shoulder. A seal chain or decoration is visible at his waistband.

The Royal Society



James Holman (1786–1857)




oil on canvas


H 29.5 x W 25.8 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by the sitter, 1858

Work type



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The Royal Society

6–9 Carlton House Terrace, London, Greater London SW1Y 5AG England

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