Collection online

oil painting

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    Painting.70

  • Description

    Portrait of Dr Alexander Scott (1853-1947), first Head of the Research Laboratory, H.L., seated, eyes full, holding a pair of tweezers for picking up weights for an analytical balance in the background..

  • Producer name

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 90 centimetres
    • Width: 98 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    In 1919 Dr Alexander Scott, a past president of the Chemical Society, was asked by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to conduct an inquiry into the condition of antiquities at the British Museum stored underground during the First World War. On his recommendation, in 1920 a scientific laboratory was set up, initially on a temporary basis. This became part of the Museum in 1931, headed by Scott until 1938. A small team carried out scientific study of ancient materials and their reactions to various environmental conditions, and methods of preservation and restoration were evolved. From this developed today’s Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, one of the oldest and largest conservation facilities in the world.

    Dr Andrew Oddy (ex Keeper of Conservation, comments, 17.7.06):
    'As ...as far as I remember it [the portrait] shows an analytical balance in the background and Scott is holding a pair of tweezers for picking up weights for the balance. (These should never be handled as fingers cause corrosion and the weight changes.) Scott made his chemical reputation determining atomic weights, for which an accurate analytical balance was essential. I think the actual balance is (or was) in the Keeper's office.'

    More 

  • Location

    Not on display (Entrance to the Research Laboratory)

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    Information from Dr Andrew Oddy (17.7.2006) 'As far as I know, the Scott portrait belonged to Plenderleith, who was, I believe, Scott's executor. Scott had no children.'

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    Painting.70


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PIC144362

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...