John Somers, Baron Somers
- Extended Catalogue Entry
John Somers, Baron Somers
by Unknown artist
watercolour on vellum on card, 1690-1700
3 1/8 in. x 2 5/8 in. (79 mm x 67 mm)
Sitterback to top
- John Somers, Baron Somers (1651-1716), Lord Chancellor. Sitter associated with 38 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 255
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 574
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 51 Read entry
The identification of NPG 3658 is traditional, supported by other portraits (by Kneller, John Riley and Simon Dubois), and by the mole on his left cheek. Piper (Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth-Century Portraits in the NPG, Cambridge University Press, 1963, p 319) suggests that the style is somewhat remeniscent of Joseph Goupy, whose work, Horace Walpole said in his Anecdotes, was 'worthy of any cabinet'. As to the subject of the portrait, Joseph Addison, in the Freeholder (issue 39), considered Somers, a formidable lawyer, to be 'the chief contriver of the quiet accession of the House of Hanover'; Jonathan Swift thought he 'possessed all excellent qualifications except virtue' (G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, XII, p 30).
Events of 1690back to top
Current affairsWilliam III, forced to leave England to fight in Ireland, empowers Mary II, through the Regency Act, to exercise authority in his absence. William, however, unwilling to rest power solely with Mary, appoints a council of nine statesmen directly answerable to the absent king.
Art and sciencePhilosopher, John Locke, publishes An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding and Treatises on Government, in which he sets out his notion that human understanding is derived from experience.
Naturalist, John Ray, publishes Synopsis methodica stirpium Britannicarum. It became the most consulted book for the classification of British plants.
InternationalWilliam III lands in Ireland with an allied force of Protestant fighters from European states to fight French and Irish troops under James II. William's victory at the Battle of the Boyne forces James to flee into permanent exile.
French defeat the English at the naval battle of Beachy Head.
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