John Napier of Merchiston by Unknown Artist

John Napier of Merchiston (1550-1617) was an inventor and mathematician.


Oil on canvas
110 x 100 cm
Art Fund grant:
£1,500 ( Total: £28,050; Tax remission)
Acquired in:
Mr Morris

His most important contribution was in the field of mathematics. Napier produced the present notation of decimal fractions and explained the construction of logarithms and their use. He also invented 'Napier's Bones', a very simple form of calculating machine which could carry out multiplication and division.


By descent in the Tweeddale family; Peter Morris.

Venue details

Scottish National Portrait Gallery 1 Queen Street, EDINBURGH Edinburgh EH2 1JD 0131 624 6200

Entry details

50% off with National Art Pass

Daily, 10am – 5pm. Open from noon on 1 Jan. Closed 25 – 26 Dec.

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