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ID number:  BIRRC-A0229
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker:  after von Breda, Carl Frederik (1759-1818)
Title / Object name:  Portrait of William Withering
Object type:  Painting
Date made:  1792 (modern copy)
Materials:  Oil on canvas
Measurements:  124.5 x 101.6 cm
BIRRC-A0229(1).jpg

In this three quarter length portrait, the sitter holds a foxglove. William Withering was not only a generous physician, setting up clinics for the poor, but was also a pioneering botanist, undertaking research into the healing qualities of the foxglove. He produced a landmark work in the field of botany in 1776, 'A Botanical Arrangement of All the Vegetables Naturally Growing in Great Britain'. He moved to Birmingham in 1775 and became an active member of the Lunar Society, an organisation to involve the people of Birmingham in its improvement, and in the application of science.
The Swedish artist Carl Frederik von Breda, in London from 1792 to 1796, had been educated at the Royal Academy in Stockholm before moving to Britain in 1781 where he was taught by Sir Joshua Reynolds. He set up a studio in London where he painted portraits until he returned to Stockholm in 1796. This is a copy by Gunnar Ekblom of the original in the National Museum in Stockholm, painted in 1792.

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