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Unknown man, formerly known as Sir James Thornhill

18 of 120 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Beningbrough Hall'

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Unknown man, formerly known as Sir James Thornhill

by John Closterman
oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1702-1705
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/4 in. (749 mm x 616 mm)
Purchased, 1900
Primary Collection
NPG 1261

Sitterback to top

  • Sir James Thornhill (1675 or 1676-1734), Father-in-law of William Hogarth, decorative painter and politician; MP for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis. Sitter associated with 14 portraits, Artist associated with 23 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

This portrait was formerly thought to represent the painter Sir James Thornhill (1675-1734), due to an inscription on the back which reads: Portrait of Sir James Thornhill painted by Himself. From the man's dress the picture can be dated to about 1690-1705, but the inscription was made during the nineteenth century long after Thornhill had died and almost certainly represents someone else.

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1702back to top

Current affairs

William III dies and is succeeded by Anne, his sister-in-law, the second daughter of James II and Anne Hyde. Committed to the Church of England and swayed towards Tory values, the queen would enjoy considerable popularity.
The general election sweeps the Tories to power in a landslide victory.

Art and science

Writer, Daniel Defoe, publishes the Shortest Way with the Dissenters. The pamphlet is considered critical of the Anglican Church and Defoe is eventually arrested for seditious libel and briefly imprisoned.
The Daily Courant, Britain's first daily newspaper consisting of one page with two columns, is printed by Elizabeth Mallet.

International

Admiral George Rooke overwhelmingly defeats a French squadron escorting a Spanish silver fleet from South America, at the naval Battle of Vigo Bay.
In the War of the Spanish Succession, John Churchill, Captain-General of the Forces, forces the French to withdraw from the River Maas.

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David Hellberg

09 August 2019, 15:28

Hello! I came across this online post of yours as I was purchasing a two-volume copy of the notorious fable 'Fable of the Bees', and it struck me at once that this portrait seems not to portray Sir James Thornhill at all, but that this is a painting of Bernard de Mandeville.

To be sure that I could back up this claim, I did some research to see if I could follow the piece's provenance to any source (primary or secondary) that could point to a place that could function as a soild proof. I had to look no further when I came across another online post by https://www.bernard-mandeville.nl/ who seemed to have done the same research I was about to endavour myself (you can see their online post in the 'Citation'-field of this commentary.

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There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

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