The Fourdrinier Family

Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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A Huguenot entrepreneur, Henry Fourdrinier senior (1730–1799) was a wealthy paper-maker and wholesale stationer. He is shown seated in the middle of his family with his sons Henry junior (1766–1854), in red, and Sealy (1774–1847), standing, in green. In 1802, the brothers employed the inventor Bryan Donkin to design a machine for making continuous paper at greatly increased speeds. At a Parliamentary hearing in 1837, Marc Isambard Brunel called the Fourdriniers' machine 'one of the most splendid inventions of the age'. The family are probably shown in their garden in Putney with a patriotic view of Windsor Castle added in the distance. The inscribed monumental urn commemorates their deceased wife and mother, Jemima (1730–1781).

National Portrait Gallery, London



The Fourdrinier Family




oil on copper


H 46 x W 61.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased, 1990

Work type



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