by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, circa 1700
49 7/8 in. x 40 3/4 in. (1268 mm x 1035 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Eleanor James (active 1685-1715), Printer and political writer. Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
The wife of a London printer, Thomas James, 'a man that reads much, knows his business well, and is...something the better known for being husband to that she-state-politician Mrs Eleanor James', she was herself described by a contemporary as 'a mixture of benevolence and madness'. She published pamphlets and broadsheets of advice to the reigning sovereigns from Charles II to George I and this portrait by an unknown artist well conveys the force and idiosyncracy of her character. A religious enthusiast, and instinctively intolerant, she published in 1687 her Vindication of the Church of England, which is included in this portrait. She was much satirised and for a time imprisoned in Newgate.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 132
- Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 109
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 93
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 107
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 333
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1700back to top
Current affairsThe sudden death of Prince William, son of Princess Anne and George, Prince of Denmark, triggers a succession crisis. His birth had secured the succession of the crown to a Protestant, safeguarding the throne from any future claim by James II's Catholic son, James Francis.
Art and scienceDramatist, William Congreve's comedy The Way of the World premieres at Lincoln's Inn Theatre, receiving a mixed reception. It would achieve greater literary acclaim in modern times. Poet, John Dryden, dies and is buried in Geoffrey Chaucer's grave in Westminster Abbey.
InternationalDiplomat and poet, Matthew Prior, secretly negotiates with Louis XIV, king of France, a second partition treaty concerning the Spanish Empire. However, following the death of Spanish ruler, Carlos II, the agreement collapses since neither Spanish or Austrian governments accept the treaty's proposals.
Exhibitions and displays
- The Tudors Reimagined: George Perfect Harding
Until 14 February
- Portrait of the Day: King Richard III
28 February, 12:30