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45 People in sitter grouping: Kit-Cat Club

Supposedly named after a mutton pie, served by Christopher Cat (a London pastry chef and friend of Jacob Tonson), it is difficult to precisely date the origin of the Kit-Cat club. It is clear that by the 1680s Tonson had begun to arrange small meetings in London, catered for by Cat, but it was probably not until the mid 1690s that the group became the large, gentrified Whig club it is best known as, famous for its drinking customs and political sponsorship. No membership lists exist for the club, but its members varied from the aristocratic elite to army officers and diplomats. The closest approximation of a membership list is perhaps the set of 48 portraits commissioned by Tonson and painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller that now hang here at the National Portrait Gallery and at Beningbrough Hall. The portraits were originally displayed in a purpose-built gallery at Tonson's Barn Elms House (which also became the headquarters for the group) and were gifted to him for his work as the club secretary. The group was succeeded by the Whig Hanover Club by 1720, a group which was solely dedicated to parliamentary matters.

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford

1676-1745
Prime Minister
Sitter in 27 portraits

Joseph Addison

1672-1719
Essayist and poet
Sitter in 24 portraits

William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath

1684-1764
Statesman
Sitter in 15 portraits

James Berkeley, 3rd Earl of Berkeley

1680-1736
Admiral
Sitter in 5 portraits

John Vaughan, 3rd Earl of Carbery

1639-1713
Governor of Jamaica and courtier
Sitter in 7 portraits

Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle

1669-1738
Statesman
Sitter in 4 portraits

Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox

1672-1723
Courtier and son of King Charles II
Sitter in 10 portraits

Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham

1675-1749
Field Marshal and politician; MP for Buckinghamshire
Sitter in 8 portraits

William Congreve

1670-1729
Dramatist
Sitter in 18 portraits

William Cowper, 1st Earl Cowper

1665?-1723
Lord Chancellor
Sitter in 3 portraits

Charles Dartiquenave

1664?-1737
Epicure and wit
Sitter in 7 portraits

William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire

1673-1729
Whig leader
Sitter in 5 portraits

John Dormer

1669-1719
Country gentleman; landowner
Sitter in 2 portraits

Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset

1688-1765
Courtier
Sitter in 10 portraits

Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset

1643-1706
Poet and courtier
Sitter in 15 portraits

Edmund Dunch

1657-1719
Whig politician and Master of the Royal Household to Queen Anne
Sitter in 4 portraits

Sir Samuel Garth

1661-1719
Physician and poet
Sitter in 15 portraits

Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin

1678-1766
Lord Privy Seal
Sitter in 7 portraits

Charles Fitzroy, 2nd Duke of Grafton

1683-1757
Lord Chamberlain
Sitter in 13 portraits

Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax

1661-1715
Financier
Sitter in 17 portraits