Portrait of John Kay of Bury

1750-1759 in United Kingdom
Painting. [John Kay of Bury (1704-1762)]  /  175-?  Oil on canvas; image sight size 11.5x9.5"/28.5x24.5cm oval; back

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Painting. [John Kay of Bury (1704-1762)] / 175-? Oil on canvas; image sight size 11.5x9.5"/28.5x24.5cm oval; back
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Portrait of John Kay of Bury (1704-1762), unattributed, 1750s. Oil on canvas in an oval in gilt frame. Kay appears head and shoulders, slightly to the right, facing front, wearing a tricorn hat, curly wig and open jacket. Light brown background.

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 original portrait of John Kay was formerly the property of the late Lieut. Col. Sutcliffe, great-grandson of Kay, who had deposited it in the Royal Polytechnic Institution. At the break-up of the Institution, it passed to Bennet Woodcroft. It is listed as item 24 in his Gallery of Portraits.

An engraving of this portrait was made by Thomas Oldham Barlow 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 'from the original picture left by the late Lieut. Col. Sutcliffe' in Woodcroft's collection.


Object Number:
paint and textile
frame [oval]: 410 mm x 365 mm x 45 mm,
image [sight]: 285 mm x 245 mm
  • visual and verbal communication
  • oil painting - visual work
  • visual and verbal communication
Woodcroft Collection