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Unknown man, formerly known as Sir James Thornhill

4 of 8 portraits on display on Floor 1: Saloon at Beningbrough Hall

Unknown man, formerly known as Sir James Thornhill, by John Closterman, circa 1702-1705 - NPG 1261 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Unknown man, formerly known as Sir James Thornhill

by John Closterman
oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1702-1705
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/4 in. (749 mm x 616 mm)
Purchased, 1900
Primary Collection
NPG 1261


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  • Sir James Thornhill (1675 or 1676-1734), Decorative painter and politician; MP for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis; father-in-law of Hogarth. Sitter associated with 14 portraits, Artist associated with 23 portraits.

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This portrait was formerly thought to represent the painter Sir James Thornhill (1675-1734), due to an inscription on the back which reads: Portrait of Sir James Thornhill painted by Himself. From the man's dress the picture can be dated to about 1690-1705, but the inscription was made during the nineteenth century long after Thornhill had died and almost certainly represents someone else.

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