Evelyn's varied life and wide range of interests are reflected in his writings, on subjects as diverse as forestry, engraving, numismatics, air pollution and refrigeration. He was a founder member of the Royal Society. He is best known, however, for his Diary, which provides a detailed record of and commentary on his times.Evelyn records in his Diary that he sat to Walker on 1 July 1648, and that his portrait was intended to accompany a treatise on marriage which he had written for his young wife Mary Browne. The portrait originally showed him holding a miniature or medal of his wife. The skull was substituted some years later, with the Greek motto (top) signifying: 'Repentance is the beginning of Wisdom', and the quotation in Latin from Seneca on the importance of preparing for death.
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London, England, WC2H 0HE
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.