John Napier of Merchiston (1550-1617) was an inventor and mathematician.
John Napier of Merchiston by Unknown Artist, 1616
© Scottish National Portrait Gallery
- 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.