Sir Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren
by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
oil on canvas, 1711
49 in. x 39 1/2 in. (1245 mm x 1003 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Artistback to top
- Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (1646-1723), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 1678 portraits, Sitter associated with 30 portraits.
This portraitback to top
In 1711, the year this portrait was made, the architect Sir Christopher Wren was seventy-nine and had finally completed his masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral. Wren's magnificent classicizing structure replaced the original Elizabethan cathedral which had burnt down during the Great Fire of London of 1666. In this portrait Wren's achievement is alluded to by the pair of dividers which he holds, the copy of Euclid and the plan of the west end of the new St Paul's.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- National Portrait Gallery: 100 Portraits, p. 40
- Hart-Davis, Adam, Chain Reactions, 2000, p. 27
- Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 342
- Ollard, Richard, Character Sketches: Samuel Pepys and His Circle, 2000, p. 41
- Ollard, Richard, Pepys and his Contemporaries, 2015, p. 97
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 82
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 82
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 679
- Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 59
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 97
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Science, Religion and Politics: The Royal Society (11 September 2010 - 5 December 2010)
Events of 1711back to top
Current affairsQueen Anne dismisses from office her closest companion, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, over disagreements principally concerning matters of state. Sarah's husband, the Duke of Marlborough, is also dismissed, a victim of ambition and political intrigue. The South Sea Company is launched to undertake the nation's debt.
Art and scienceComposer, George Frideric Handel's first London opera Rinaldo is staged at the Queen's Theatre and privately performed for the queen on her birthday at St. James's Palace. The following year Handel would leave the Hanoverian court to settle in London. Essayists, Sir Richard Steele and Joseph Addison establish The Spectator.
InternationalSecret peace negotiations between France and England resume to end the War of the Spanish Succession. Lord treasurer, Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford sends poet and diplomat, Matthew Prior, to France accompanied by Louis XIV's secret negotiator, François Gaultier, to conduct talks directly with the French king.
See this portrait
On display in Room 10 at the National Portrait Gallery