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William Kingdon Clifford

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Born on 4 May 1845, Clifford was a precociously intelligent child and in his brief career became one of the most respected mathematicians and philosophers of his day. Strongly influenced by the evolutionary ideas of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, he was a fluent and charismatic speaker and dedicated his energies to the popularisation of recent scientific thought. Married in 1875 to the writer, Lucy Lane, their house was the meeting place for many of the leading intellectual figures of the period. Clifford died from tuberculosis on 3 March 1879.
Collier's painting is a replica of his 1878 portrait of Clifford at the Royal Society.

National Portrait Gallery, London



William Kingdon Clifford




oil on canvas


H 59.7 x W 47.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Given by John Collier, 1899

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National Portrait Gallery, London

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