Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
- Extended Catalogue Entry
Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
oil on canvas, feigned oval, 1685
29 3/4 in. x 24 3/4 in. (756 mm x 629 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (1646-1723), Portrait painter. Sitter associated with 30 portraits, Artist associated with 1686 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (1646-1723), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 1686 portraits, Sitter associated with 30 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Born in Germany, Kneller trained as an artist in Amsterdam and then in Italy. He settled in England in 1676 and gained an introduction to Court circles through the Duke of Monmouth. Dashing and worldly, he rapidly established an extremely successful business as a portrait painter. His production was immense, and his large team of assistants formed virtually a factory; the standard product was mechanical and lifeless, yet Kneller's individual masterpieces rank as high as any portraits produced in Europe in his time. This self-portrait of 1685 demonstrates his power as an artist before it was diluted by mass production.
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- The British Portrait, 1660-1960, 1991, p. 116 number 107
- Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 140
- Ollard, Richard, Character Sketches: Samuel Pepys and His Circle, 2000, p. 54
- Ollard, Richard, Pepys and his Contemporaries, 2015, p. 81
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 77
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 77 Read entry
Dashing and worldly, Kneller was trained as an artist in Holland and Italy and came to England in 1676, where he rapidly established an extremely successful business as a portrait painter. This self-portrait is signed 'G. Kneller. F. 1685' and shows his powers as an artist before they were diluted by mass production.
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 357
Events of 1685back to top
Current affairsCharles II dies, his heir, Catholic brother, James II, succeeds to the throne. Despite deep distrust by many Protestants, he initially experiences unexpected popularity.
James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, leads the Monmouth Rebellion ambitious to seize the throne. Following his defeat at Sedgemoor, Monmouth is executed at Tower Hill.
Art and scienceOpera Universa, by physician Thomas Sydenham, considered the father of English medicine, is published in London.
Organist, Henry Purcell composes, My heart is inditing, for the coronation of James II and his queen, Mary of Modena.
Writer on dentistry, Charles Allen publishes the earliest known English book on dentistry.
InternationalThe Edict of Fontainebleau is issued by Louis XIV revoking the Edict of Nantes which gave Huguenots a right to practice their religion, free from persecution. Although Huguenots had steadily left France since the Dragonnades in 1681, this edict essentially ended official religious toleration in France.
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