March 31, 1857

James Smithson

March 31, 1857. The personal effects of James Smithson, the Smithsonian’s benefactor, are removed from the Patent Office Building and deposited in the Regents’ Room at the Smithsonian Institution Building.

This engraving is based on a side view neo-classical bust of James Smithson in bas relief attributed to the Engraver General of France, Pierre Joseph Tiolier (1763-1819), which was part of Smithson’s personal effects. The medallion had the words ‘my likeness’ in Smithson’s hand. The original steel-plate portrait, engraved by J.W. Paradise of New York in 1847, was destroyed in the 1865 Smithsonian Institution Building or “Castle” fire. This engraving was produced by Charles Burt of New York in 1879. The image includes reproduction of Smithson’s signature.

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives

Posted: 31 March 2012
About the Author:

The Torch relies on contributions from the entire Smithsonian community.