William Jones

Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Born in modest circumstances in Anglesey, William Jones became a distinguished mathematician. He rose to become a Fellow of the Royal Society, one of the world's premier scientific institutions, in 1712 and later its Vice-President. His Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos (1706) was a mathematical guide for beginners and introduced the symbol to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
The painting was probably commissioned by the 2nd Earl of Macclesfield, a patron of Jones with whom Jones and his family lived in Oxfordshire. The 2nd Earl was a Governor of the Foundling Hospital in London, as was the artist Hogarth, which may be how the portrait came to be commissioned.

National Portrait Gallery, London



William Jones




oil on canvas


H 127 x W 102.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund, 1984

Work type



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