James Smithson Portrait by H. Johns, by Smillie, T. W (Thomas William) 1843-1917, 1816, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Photograph is of a portrait of James Smithson (1765-1829), founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution, as an adult. The photograph is of a miniature portrait of Smithson done in oil on ivory by Henri Johns on May 11, 1816 at Aix la Chapelle, France, and purchased in 1878 from George Henry de la Batut of France..