Object of the Week: A bust based on a cast of Isaac Newton's face made at his death

By Pieter van der Merwe | 20 January 2016

Object of the Week: This week we bring you a terracotta take on Isaac Newton's death mask, held at the National Maritime Museum

A photo of a terracotta bust of 18th century scientist sir isaac newton
© National Maritime Museum, Royal Greenwich Observatory Collection
This bust is based on casts of Newton’s face made at his death. Created by Louis-François Roubiliac in around 1731, it was originally commissioned by Newton’s nephew before being bequeathed to the Royal Society by a later owner, the surgeon John Belchier, who was a Fellow of the society.

Belchier's will asserted that it was “esteemed more like than anything extant of Sir Isaac”, and instructed that it be placed in the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

Newton, who lived from 1642 to 1727, was the greatest scientist of his or most other ages in terms of his original contributions to mathematics, physics, astronomy, optics and other fields.

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