[Jeremy Bentham, Utilitarian philosopher.] Lithographic portrait from a drawing by American artist Robert Matthew Sully.

Author: 
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), Utilitarian philosopher associated with University College, London; Robert Matthew Sully (1803-1855), American artist
Publication details: 
1827.
£500.00
SKU: 22444

A rare and unusual engraving, not in the National Portrait Gallery collection, nor in that of the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings, which does however possess (with Museum Number 1909,0601.1) the original drawing by American artist Robert Matthew Sully (1803-1855) from which it was made, which the BM describes as 'Portrait of Jeremy Bentham writing; half-length, seated at desk, almost in profile to left, wearing spectacles. 1827 Pen and brown ink, over graphite'. According to the BM description, the original drawing has the following inscription on the back by Bentham's nephew George: 'Pen and ink sketch taken by an American gentleman whilst sitting opposite him at his usual working table. The best likeness extant'. The present item is from the collection of Richard Monckton Milnes (Lord Houghton). An uncoloured lithograph printed in black, it is on a 23 x 14 cm piece of paper, laid down on a piece of brown paper bearing a white paper stub. Foxed and lightly-discoloured, with thin strip cut from margin at bottom right. Beneath the drawing is the caption 'JEREMY BENTHAM.', and beneath this, in a contemporary hand: 'from a sketch by R. M. Sully in 1827'. As with the original drawing, this engraving is a powerful outline sketch with no shading, showing bespectacled Bentham in left profile, seated with a wall of books behind him, writing with a quill pen. The engraving differs slightly from the original, with greater emphasis on the books behind Bentham, which in the engraving are arranged in three shelves, half-tone. The British Museum gives the reference: 'The Old Radical: Representations of Jeremy Bentham', (Exhib. Cat.), Strang Print Room, UCL, 1998, no.21.