Portrait bust of Professor Frederick Guthrie
Painted plaster portrait bust of Professor Frederick Guthrie by H Harvey,1885. It shows Guthrie in contemporary attire of a double-breasted coat with full beard and moustache. The plaster bust sits on a black base and is inscribed 'H Harvey 1885' on the back.
Frederick Guthrie jointly founded the Physical Society of London (now the Institute of Physics) in 1874, and acted as its first ‘demonstrator’, becoming president from 1884 until his death in 1886. He was Professor of Physics at the Royal College of Science, South Kensington, making him one of the Professors asked to advise on new acquisitions for the Science Museum’s early collections in 1882. He argued for the importance of the technical and material apparatus of science being seen as its fundamental process (rather than theories or books), likewise arguing at the Physical Society that science should be based on experiment rather than discussion. He was therefore instrumental in the museum’s early collecting policy. This bust, produced by H Harvey in 1885, was presumably commissioned to celebrate his presidency and was given to the Physical Society by his wife in 1888. It was given to the Science Museum in 2018.