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Nathaniel Bowditch

Artist
Robert Ball Hughes, 1806 - 1868
Sitter
Nathaniel Bowditch, 26 Mar 1773 - 17 Mar 1838
Date
Undated cast after 1838-39 original
Type
Sculpture
Medium
Painted plaster
Dimensions
Object w/out socle: 66.7 x 38.7 x 26cm (26 1/4 x 15 1/4 x 10 1/4")
Socle footprint: 31.8 x 22.9cm (12 1/2 x 9")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.84.75
Exhibition Label
Nathaniel Bowditch was one of America’s great practical scientists. His contributions to navigation and astronomy were signal achievements in the new republic, helping to create an identity distinct from England. Self-taught and ambitious, Bowditch had a successful career as a businessman but also turned his restless mind to scientific inquiry. His most important book was the New Practical Navigator (1802), which simplified navigational problems for seamen.
Bowditch’s bust rests on the first volume of his translation and annotation of Pierre-Simon de Laplace’s Celestial Mechanics, a study of physical astronomy.
Provenance
(Phillips, June 6, 1984), New York; purchased NPG 1984
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 140