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William Kent

(1685?-1748), Architect, painter and landscape gardener

Sitter associated with 8 portraits
Artist associated with 5 portraits
Kent came from humble origins, but gained knowledge of the classics when his early patrons took him on a Grand Tour of Italy, spending ten years studying, before being brought home in 1719 by Lord Burlington to decorate the ceilings at Burlington House (now the Royal Academy). One of the leading architects working in the Palladian style, he published Designs of Inigo Jones, 1727, and worked at Houghton, Holkham and Stowe, as well as in London on the Horse Guards and the Treasury Buildings. Kent's garden designs for mansions at Stowe, Rousham and Chiswick combine naturalism with classical allusions. He also illustrated John Gay's Poems, 1720, and James Thomson's Seasons, 1730.

Watch a film clip on the artist from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Peter the Wild Boy, by John Simon, after  William Kent - NPG D3895

Peter the Wild Boy

by John Simon, after William Kent
mezzotint, circa 1726-1742
NPG D3895

Inigo Jones, by Bernard Baron, after  William Kent - NPG D36713

Inigo Jones

by Bernard Baron, after William Kent
line engraving, published 1727?
NPG D36713

Monument to Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey, by B. Cole, after  William Kent, and after  John Michael Rysbrack - NPG D13121

Monument to Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey

by B. Cole, after William Kent, and after John Michael Rysbrack
line engraving, 1731 or after
NPG D13121

Queen Elizabeth II; William Shakespeare (on verso), after Harry Norman Eccleston, after  William Kent - NPG D48662

Queen Elizabeth II; William Shakespeare (on verso)

after Harry Norman Eccleston, after William Kent
steel engraved currency note, 1970-1991
NPG D48662


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