This elegant Scholar was a Mathematician and Antiquary of much celebrity in the philosophical annals of Literature. In 1713, at the early age of 24, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, where he was greatly distinguished; chosen one of the Council; in 1716 named by Sir Isaac Newton himself as Vice-president; and in 1741 was elected President. Mr. Folkes was also an early Member of the Society of Antiquaries, having been elected in 1719-20; and his communications to both Societies were numerous and valuable. His knowledge in antient and modern Coins was very extensive; and the most important work he produced was "The History of the English Gold and Silver Coin, from the Conquest to his own time."
Algernon the famous Duke of Somerset, who had been many years President of the Society of Antiquaries, dying February 9, 1749-50, Mr. Folkes, who was then one of the Vice-presidents, was immediately chosen to succeed his Grace; and was continued President by the Charter of Incorporation of that Society, November 2, 1751. But he was soon disabled from presiding, in person, either in that or the Royal Society, being seized, on the 26th of September the same year, with a palsy, which deprived him of the use of his left side.
On the 30th of November 1753, he resigned the Presidentship of the Royal Society; but continued President of the Society of Antiquaries till his death. After having languished nearly three years a second attack of his disorder, on the 25th of June 1754, put an end to his life on the 28th of that month.
The original Portrait is preserved in the Meeting-room of the Royal Society.