MAGUIRE, Thomas Herbert (1821-1895)
John Stevens Henslow
[Ipswich: George Ransome, c. 1851]. Tinted lithograph in octagonal format, with signature as title: "J. S. Henslow", with artist's printed signature in image lower left: "T. H. Maguire 1851" Image size (including text): 12 3/4 x 9 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 23 1/2 x 16 7/8 inches.
A handsome portrait of a brilliant Anglican scientist
John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861), passionate about natural history as a boy, grew up to be one of the leading botanists of his time as well as an Anglican minister. He attended Cambridge, made geological observations on the Isle of Wight with Adam Sedgwick and in 1822 became Professor of Mineralogy at the University of Cambridge. In 1824, his scientific interests had shifted to botany. In 1827, he gave up his Professorship in Mineralogy and in 1829 became Professor of Botany. It was in this year that his "Catalogue of British Plants" appeared. It was during his Botany Professorship that he had Charles Darwin as a student. And when he was offered the post of botanist on H. M. S. Beagle, he recommended Darwin for the position.
Like many Anglican clergymen, Henslow was at first an absentee rector, taking the bulk of remuneration while leaving the ministerial work to a curate, but in 1839, he moved to his parish in Hitcham, Suffolk and devoted himself to his parish. He continued there for the rest of his life, keeping his Professorship at Cambridge. During his tenure in Suffolk, he established a school and encouraged the creation of the nearby Ipswich museum (for which this portrait was made). Ipswich was primarily a natural history museum and Henslow was elected president in 1850.
Thomas Herbert Maguire (1821-1895) was a British artist, who studied lithography with Richard James Lane. He is best known for the portraits of scientists, primarily naturalists, for which he was commissioned by George Ransome, F. L. S. in connection with the founding of the Ipswich Museum. Ransome gave the portraits as gifts to subscribing members and gave the entire portfolio, which ultimately ran to 60 portraits, to especially important figures, most notably Prince Albert when he visited the museum in 1851.
Maguire brought to portrait making an unusual capacity to capture a person's type and character. His portraits did not try glorify their subject but rather showed their individuality. The subject's renown depended on their accomplishments, which would have been well-known to the observers.