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Letter from Sir Issac Newton to William Briggs, 20th June 1682.Artist: Isaac Newton Featured British Museum Print

Letter from Sir Issac Newton to William Briggs, 20th June 1682.Artist: Isaac Newton

Letter from Sir Issac Newton to William Briggs, 20th June 1682. Letter written from Trinity College, Cambridge by Newton to William Briggs, MD, commending his New Theory of Vision but dissenting from some of his conclusions. The New Theory of Vision was published in Robert Hooke's Philisophical Collections, No 6, 1682., and a Latin version, made by Newton's advice and accompanied by a commendatory letter from him to the author, appeared in 1685. From the third series of Facsimiles of royal, historical, literary and other autographs in the Department of Manuscripts, British Museum: Series I-V, (London, 1899)

© The Print Collector / Heritage-Images

The Inchcape Rock, 1908, (c1930). Creator: Peter Graham Featured British Museum Print

The Inchcape Rock, 1908, (c1930). Creator: Peter Graham

The Inchcape Rock, 1908, (c1930). Illustration to a ballad of the same name by Robert Southey, published in 1802. A warning bell for shipping had been installed on a dangerous sandstone reef off the east coast of Scotland. Sir Ralph the Rover, a pirate, removed the bell, and later perished when his ship was wrecked on the reef. Painting in the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester. From "Modern Masterpieces of British Art". [The Amalgamated Press Ltd., London, c1930]

© The Print Collector/Heritage Images

Black John of Tetcott, James Northcote (1746-1831) Featured British Museum Print

Black John of Tetcott, James Northcote (1746-1831)

Oil on canvas, English School. In 1784 Northcote painted the portrait of John Arscott (1718-1788) of Tetcott, Devon, and it is probable that he painted this portrait of Black John of Tetcott at same the time. Black John was under four foot in height and suffered from kyphosis, known at the time this portrait was painted as hunchback'. The descriptions of his life, spent in the service of John Arscott, record his success as a jester and his devotion to his master'. It was common for servants lives to be overlooked and trivialised by the households they worked for and for their histories to be re-written, ensuring that they had no voice of their own. For example, it was noted that "his role as jester included swallowing and retrieving strings of live mice and mumbling sparrows, removing their feathers with his teeth while the sparrow was in his mouth. He died of grief shortly after his master." There is no history of Black John's life (not even a record of his real name) that is not in relation to that of his master'. James Northcote was born in Plymouth, the son of a watchmaker and optician. He was apprenticed to his father's trade but showed a talent for art. In 1769 he left his father's work and set up as a portrait painter. He was admitted as a pupil into the studio and house of Sir Joshua Reynolds in London as a pupil and assistant between 1771 and 1776. He came to consider himself an authority on his master and in 1813, after Reynolds death, he published his posthumous Memoirs of Sir Joshua Reynolds