Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton by James Thornhill

Sir Isaac Newton was born at Woolsthorpe Manor and made his first experiments in gravity there, inspired by the fall of an apple from a tree on to his head.


Oil on canvas
122 x 102 cm
Art Fund grant:
£14,000 ( Total: £35,000)
Acquired in:
Historical Portraits/ Philip Mould

Until the purchase of this portrait, the House lacked family possessions or even a painted portrait of the great mathematician and this work established a vivid physical presence of the scientist. Thornhill's presentation of Newton without a wig focuses our attention on his head and, by implication, on the mind working within it. The National Trust has owned Woolsthorpe Manor since 1942, the 300th anniversary of Newton's birth, when the house was bought to serve as a permanent memorial to Britain's great scientist.


Probably by descent from Sarah Newton within the Foulds family until Miss Dorothy Hylda Foulds (1901-1977); private collection; with Historical Portraits Ltd.

Venue details

Woolsthorpe Manor Water Lane, Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, GRANTHAM Lincolnshire NG33 5PD 01476 860338 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/woolsthorpe-manor

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £6.45)

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