The Royal Institution (Ri) was founded in 1799 to promote science for the ‘common purposes of life’. It continues with this aim today through its research and lecture programmes, including the televised Christmas Lectures. The painting collection shows the variety of people behind the scientific discoveries and events which have taken place here. Michael Faraday began the image collection in the 1820s. He arranged for his friend Henry Pickersgill to paint portraits of well known Ri people, including Faraday himself. Since Faraday’s time the tradition of collecting and displaying portraits and other images on the walls has helped to reinforce the identity of the Royal Institution and reminds us that science is the product of human agency. Alongside the portraits the collection includes two large paintings showing demonstration lectures at the Ri: 'Sir James Dewar (1842–1923), Lecturing on Liquid Hydrogen at the Royal Institution, 1904' by Henry Jamyn Brooks, and Terence Cuneo’s painting of'Sir Lawrence Bragg Giving the 1961 Christmas Lectures in the Royal Institution Theatre'.