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Faber, John the Younger (c.1684-1756) after Michael Dahl (1659-1743): Mr Thomas Weston. [Mathematician, astronomer.]


Mezzotint portrait dated 1723. Lettered below the image with the title, and signed "M Dahl pinx: / John faber fecit 1723". 35,5 x 25 cms (plate), 36,8 x 25,8 cms (sheet). Thread margins. Mat size 64,7 x 50 cms. Provenance: The collection of Emil Hultmark (1872-1943). Chaloner Smith 379.I.


Portrait of Thomas Weston (d. 1728), three-quarter length, seated at a wooden table wearing a striped dressing-gown and wig, both hands on the table, right hand gesturing to left, with mathematical instruments, a diagram, an ink-stand, and a book labelled ”Lectiones Astronomicae Lectio 12” in front of him (British Museum).


”Thomas Weston was an assistant to the Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed, and lived and worked as an indentured servant to him at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, for seven years from February 1699 to February 1706. […] From at least 1712 he had a school, Weston’s Academy, in a house called Heyton Hall (earlier Copped Hall) on what is now King William Walk (previously King Street) Greenwich, which from 1715 included ten pupils who were poor seamen’s sons housed and educated by Greenwich Hospital. As numbers grew Weston's school became the basis of the Greenwich (now Royal) Hospital School and also, through division, first Burney's Academy in Greenwich and its successor after a move to Portsmouth, the Royal Naval Academy there. All of these had a mathematical core, training boys for sea and military service. […] The Revd Thomas Plume (who was vicar of Greenwich from 1658) in about 1702 had considered Weston as a possible candidate for the Plumian Chair of Astronomy that he was planning to establish by bequest at Cambridge, but dropped the idea when informed by Flamsteed that he had little Latin and no Greek. In 1719, he succeeded Flamsteed as the Examiner of the Royal Mathematical School at Christ’s Hospital, retaining the position until his death when his brother John took over both that post, and running the Academy at Greenwich. […] This portrait, engraved by John Faber after Michael Dahl, was published in 1723 but then used as a frontispiece to Weston’s, ’A copy-book written for the use of the young-gentlemen at the Academy in Greenwich’ (1726). He is depicted wearing a wig and sitting at his desk or work table in an informal striped dressing gown or banyan, with the tools of his trade: a notebook (clearly titled ’Lectiones Astronomicae Lectio 12’), papers, writing and drawing materials and a dissected cone” (Royal Museums Greenwich, online).

John Faber after Michael Dahl: Mr Thomas Weston. (Mathematician, astronomer.)

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