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A half-length portrait of William Herschel to left in a russet coat with a fur collar and either a grey wig or powdered hair. He is holding a paper bearing the words, 'The Georgian Planet With its Satellites', together with a drawing of a planet and its satellites. This probably refers to Herschel's discovery of Uranus in 1781, which he initially wanted to call 'Georgium Sidus' after his new patron, George III. It was eventually named Uranus after the mythological god of the skies. John Russell was a bookseller and printseller as well as an artist. He was apprenticed to Francis Cotes and set up his own practice in 1767. In 1770 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, London, winning the silver medal for figure drawing, and was elected RA in 1788, when he became Crayon Painter to George III and to George, Prince of Wales.
Sir William Herschel (1738–1822)
oil on panel
H 25.5 x W 22 cm