Portrait of Joshua Heilmann (1796-1848)

1860 in United Kingdom
Painting. [Joshua Heilmann 1796-1848] /  [18--]

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Painting. [Joshua Heilmann 1796-1848] / [18--]
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Portrait of Joshua Heilmann (1796-1848), painted 1860, unknown artist. Oil on canvas. Heilmann appears half length, facing right, wearing a dark jacket, light waistcoat, shirt and dark necktie.

This portrait formed part of the Bennet Woodcroft Bequest, which was among the founding collections of the Science Museum. Woodcroft had developed a 'National Gallery of Portraits of Inventors, Discoverers and Introducers of the Useful Arts’ combining gifts, loans and purchases of portraits, while acting as the first curator of the Patent Museum.

This is a copy after an original which in 1860 was in the possession of the Heilmann family. Paul Heilmann (son of Joshua) lent the original to Bennet Woodcroft to aide in the completion of an engraving of Heilmann by Thomas Oldham Barlow. According to Paul Heilmann the original painting was the only good portrait of his father in existence. Woodcroft had a copy made sometime between August and December 1860 while he had the original in his possession. The identity of the copy artist does not survive. In two separate letters, Woodcroft asked Paul Heilmann for the name of the artist of the original – the answer, if ever provided by Heilmann, does not survive.

An engraving of this portrait was made by Thomas Oldham Barlow in 1862 and included in the Portfolio of 'Portraits of Inventors of Machines for the Manufacture of Textile Fabrics with Memoirs' published by Thomas Agnew & Sons with an introduction by Woodcroft in 1863 (see 1980-840). Text under the print lists the portrait as on loan to Woodcroft from the family.


Object Number:
paint and textile
overall: 770 mm x 640 mm x 30 mm,
oil painting and portrait
Woodcroft Collection