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Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Michael Dahl (1659-1743), Portrait painter

In 1723 Vertue (G. Vertue, Notebooks, Wal. Soc., XXII, 1934, p 12) listed four portraits of Dahl:
‘a picture in a Cap by him self
a picture of him in his own hair
dito in his hair before he went to Rome 1684/5 by Kneller
dito his own picture done by himself at Rome 1687.’

1684-85
Painting by Godfrey Kneller, in his own hair. Untraced (G. Vertue, Notebooks, Wal. Soc., XXII, 1934, p 12).

1686
‘Mr Dahl. who went with [Tilson] to Rome … painted his own picture.which he presented to Mr Tilson behind it is writ.
memoria per mio caro
amico Henri Tilson
fatto Roma 1686
… this picture of Mr Dahl is in full front with a pencil in his hand. a Noble strength & broad pencil. Finely painted’ (G. Vertue, Notebooks, Wal. Soc., XX, 1932, p 68).

1691
Painting by Michael Dahl, see NPG 3822.

c.1700
Painting by Michael Dahl, bust-length oval, wearing cap and drape. Gripsholm (2254). Possibly the ‘picture in a Cap by him self’ listed by Vertue, see above.

Painting by Michael Dahl. Strawberry Hill sale, 24th day, 21 May 1842, lot 111, ‘a small oval’. Engraved T. Chambars 1771 (Walpole, Anecdotes), W. H. Watt 1827 (From the original by himself at Strawberry Hill). W. Nisser, Michael Dahl, 1927, cat. p 16, no.52, as 1695-1700, in the collection of H. Featherstonhaugh Frampton of Moreton, Dorchester; and cf. W. Nisser, Michael Dahl, 1927, cat. p 59, no.46c.

1709
Miniature by Christian Richter, bust-length oval, wearing cap and drape, signed and dated. Sotheby’s, 18 December 1986, lot 16; possibly Strawberry Hill sale, 11th day, 6 May 1842, lot 67 ‘a miniature’ (cf. W. Nisser, Michael Dahl, 1927, cat. p 59, no.46d as Dahl, and cat. p 143, no.7, portrait of Dahl by Richter, sold Cock’s, 18 May 1737).

A painting described as a self portrait, half-length oval wearing a fur cap and gown, exhibited Second Special Exhibition of National Portraits ( ... William and Mary to MDCCC), South Kensington, 1867, no.163, lent T. S. Carter (W. Nisser, Michael Dahl, 1927, cat. p 59, no.46f), was with the lender’s descendants in 1977 (together with a portrait of Henry Tilson).

by 1732
Bust by J. M. Rysbrack, noted by Vertue in 1732 (G. Vertue, Notebooks, Wal. Soc., XXII, 1934 p 56).

1735
Painting by Gawen Hamilton, see NPG 1384.

Painting attributed to Gawen Hamilton, An Assembly of Virtuosi. Ashmolean Museum (A188; Complete Illus. Cat. of Paintings, 2004, p 97; J. Kerslake, National Portrait Gallery, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, I, p 342). Engraved R. Sawyer 1829, the key identifying Dahl. Exhibited Liverpool 1958, no.22.

A self portrait was in the collection of Matthew Prior (H. Bunker Wright & H. C. Montgomery, ‘The Art Collection of a Virtuoso in eighteenth-century England’, Art Bulletin, XXVII, 1945, p 199, no.22).

An inscribed sketch by James Thornhill of 1721 (of which three versions are known) includes Dahl sketching Prior, but the image is too cursory to provide a likeness (see, for example, Apollo, CXXII, 1985, p 204); see H. Bunker Wright & H. C. Montgomery, ‘The Art Collection of a Virtuoso in eighteenth-century England’, Art Bulletin, XXVII, 1945.

Nisser listed two untraced self portraits: sold Foster’s, 15 May 1867, lot 108, from the collection of Edward Orme, and in the collection of A. Karlsteen (respectively cat. p 59, nos. 46e, 46g).



This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.