James Smithson, Student at Pembroke College, Oxford University

ID: SIA2008-2447

Creator: Heliotype Printing Company

Form/Genre: Engraving

Date: 1881

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7000, Box 5, Folder 6

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Engraving of a portrait of James Smithson, from an oil painting by James Roberts (1753-c. 1809), wearing university robes of an Oxford student, 1786. The full length portrait is about 1/4 size. Smithson attended Pembroke College, Oxford, 1782-1786. Painting was purchased in 1850 from the widow of John Fitall, Smithson's former servant to whom he had granted an annuity. Sepia engraving by the Heliotype Printing Company, Boston, c. 1881.


  • Fitall, John
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Fitall, Mrs. John
  • Roberts, James 1753 -c. 1809
  • Heliotype Printing Co
  • Oxford University
  • Pembroke College (Oxford University)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • For additional information, see Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, volume 21, pp. viii and 16. See photo of painting, Neg. #10192. Also, for different images of the same portrait see #MAH-9077, #72-3961, #72-3961-A, and #10614.
  • The collar Smithson is wearing on his gown indicates he has a Masters of Arts degree which he received in May of 1786.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7000, Box 5, Folder 6

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Art
  • Benefactors
  • Clothing and dress
  • Smithson family
  • Philanthropists
  • Portraits
  • Art objects


  • Engraving
  • Portraits

ID Number


Physical description

Color: Sepia; Size: 5.75w x 9.5h; Type of Image: Portrait; Medium: Engraving, steel plate

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