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.
Become a Member
Enjoy access to special events, discounts on the Gallery online shop, supporters’ updates and much more
Bringing people together by sharing the portraits and stories of the men and women who have shaped our nation.
Sign up to receive information on exhibitions, collections and activities of the National Portrait Gallery, including special offers, shop products, and exclusive competitions.
- Silhouettes display, 2004-05
- Return to Life: A New Look at the Portrait Bust
- 2019 Anniversaries
- William Hazlitt's Spirit of the Age
- Making History: Printed Portraiture in Tudor and Stuart Britain
- Mary, Queen of Scots: Fact and Fiction
- Restoration Lives: Samuel Pepys and His Circle
- Brilliant Women
- Chartist Portraits
- Mary, Queen of Scots
- Nelson: before and after Trafalgar
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Art Conservation Project
- Rebel women
- Theodore de Mayerne
- Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs
- Popular Prints of Victoria and Albert
- Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
- Searching for Shakespeare
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints
Choose your favourite portrait from our Collection as a framed or unframed print for your home.