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John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

5 of 85 portraits of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt, circa 1706 - NPG 902 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
oil on canvas, circa 1706
36 1/2 in. x 29 in. (927 mm x 737 mm)
Purchased, 1892
Primary Collection
NPG 902


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  • Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (1646-1723), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 1667 portraits, Sitter associated with 30 portraits.

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Presumably a sketch for a full-scale allegorical painting which seems never to have been carried out. This oil sketch shows Queen Anne's great Commander-in-Chief, the victor of Blenheim and Ramillies, in triumph. On the left is Hercules with his club and a key (possibly a symbol of submission) and a woman offering him a castle. Under Marlborough's horse's hooves is the dishevelled figure of Discord, while in the clouds sits Justice; below her, Victory crowns the duke with laurel. It appears that the full-scale allegorical painting for which this is presumably a study was never completed. Stylistically the work is heavily influenced by Rubens, while in spirit it conveys Britain's confidence as a European power.

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