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James Vernon

1 of 2 portraits of James Vernon

James Vernon, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt, 1677 - NPG 2963 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

James Vernon

by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
oil on canvas, feigned oval, 1677
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/2 in. (749 mm x 622 mm)
Purchased, 1938
Primary Collection
NPG 2963

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Sitterback to top

  • James Vernon (1646-1727), Secretary of State. Sitter in 2 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (1646-1723), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 1674 portraits, Sitter associated with 30 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In 1677 James Vernon met the artist Godfrey Kneller, who had just arrived in England from Germany. Vernon became Kneller's patron, paying the painter's rent in return for this portrait. He introduced Kneller to the Duke of Monmouth, and Kneller noted that Vernon could 'introduce [me] to courtiers, for I take him for an honest and most charming gentleman, as all who know him say'. Consequently, this portrait helped launch a long and successful career for Kneller, who became the principal painter in Britain, serving the King and being awarded a knighthood.

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