- Extended Catalogue Entry
by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
oil on canvas, 1689
91 1/4 in. x 56 3/8 in. (2318 mm x 1432 mm) overall
Given by Mrs Charles James Wylie, 1900
Artistback to top
- Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (1646-1723), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 1683 portraits, Sitter associated with 30 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Born of a good Northamptonshire family, Leigh was a leading figure of the Restoration theatre, first with the Duke of York's company in Dorset Garden and later at Drury Lane. Collay Cibber described him as an actor 'of the mercurial kind, and though not so strict an observer of nature, yet never so wanton in his performance, as to be wholly out of her sight'. He played many original parts, the most famous of which was Father Dominic in The Spanish Friar. This portrait shows him in costume as Father Dominic holding an open gilt box filled with gold coins. The inscription below identifies Leigh as 'Comedian to His Majesty'.
Related worksback to top
- NPG D11753: Anthony Leigh (source portrait)
- NPG D3565: Anthony Leigh (source portrait)
- NPG D19341: Anthony Leigh (source portrait)
- NPG D37279: Anthony Leigh (source portrait)
- NPG D37280: Anthony Leigh (source portrait)
- NPG D37281: Anthony Leigh (source portrait)
- NPG D37282: Anthony Leigh (source portrait)
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 145
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 375
Events of 1689back to top
Current affairsWilliam III is crowned jointly with his wife Mary II in Westminster Abbey in an unprecedented coronation of two monarchs.
The Bill of Rights is passed establishing the supremacy of Parliament, while limiting the power of the Crown.
Scottish Jacobites defeat Williamite troops at the Battle of Killiiecrankie.
Art and scienceThomas Shadwell, appointed poet laureate and historiographer royal, replaces John Dryden, his literary adversary.
John Riley and Godfrey Kneller are jointly appointed principal painter to the king.
Composer Henry Purcell presents his opera, Dido and Aeneas, at Josias Priest's girls' school.