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James Vernon (1646-1727), Secretary of State

Sitter in 2 portraits
Vernon began his career as Private Secretary to King Charles II's eldest illegitimate son, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth. He became the patron of artist Godfrey Kneller; Kneller painted Vernon's portrait and Vernon paid the rent for Kneller's house and introduced him to other members of the court. Although Vernon and Monmouth were close, Vernon left the Duke's service when the latter went into exile in 1684 and subsequently transferred his loyalties to William and Mary of Orange. He later served as Private Secretary to the Earl of Shrewsbury, Secretary of State for the South, and went on to become Secretary of State himself from 1697 to 1702.