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  • John Partridge
James Watt, 1736 - 1819. Engineer, inventor of the steam engine
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James Watt, 1736 - 1819. Engineer, inventor of the steam engine 1806

On Display PORTRAIT GALLERY

  • Scottish Art
James Watt achieved lasting fame as an engineer and scientist when his improvement of Newcomen's steam engine made it a practical industrial tool. Soon, his partnership with businessman Matthew Boulton led to the opening of a purpose-built steam engine factory. In 1800 Watt withdrew from active participation in the business and became entirely devoted to research. After his death in 1819, the ‘watt’ – a unit of measurement of electrical and mechanical power – was named in his honour. This portrait is a copy of a painting by Sir William Beechey. The original was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1802 and was regarded a true likeness by Watt himself. Partridge painted this copy a few years later and secured additional sittings by Watt to enhance the resemblance.

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Royal Academy

An independent institution founded in 1768 with Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first president. It is governed by the Royal Academicians - leading painters, sculptors, printmakers and architects, which number no more than 80 at one time. It organises exhibitions at its London galleries, including an annual Summer Exhibition.

Royal Academy

Details

  • Acc. No. PG 2612
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 76.80 x 64.20 cm (framed: 96.30 x 94.20 x 7.40 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1984