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Maurice Ashley-Cooper; Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

19 of 4829 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Double portraits'

Maurice Ashley-Cooper; Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, by John Closterman, circa 1700-1701 - NPG 5308 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Maurice Ashley-Cooper; Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

by John Closterman
oil on canvas, circa 1700-1701
95 3/4 in. x 67 1/4 in. (2432 mm x 1708 mm)
Purchased, 1980
Primary Collection
NPG 5308

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Closterman designed two grand portraits with Shaftesbury that convey his patron's Neo-Platonist beliefs. This one, in an idealised landscape, shows Shaftesbury with his brother Maurice gesturing towards the light of knowledge. Behind them is a classical temple dedicated to Apollo, god of the liberal arts.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 249
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 78
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 78 Read entry

    This extraordinary double portrait is quite unlike any other portrait of its period. The figure on the right is the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713), well known as a writer and philosopher (although many of his ideas became influential only after his death). He was passionately interested in Platonism, as was his younger brother Maurice (1675-1726), who is shown gesturing towards the light of ideas in the distance. It seems the brothers commissioned this portrait in order to show themselves in an idealised Classical landscape and wearing what was thought to be Ancient Greek dress. Behind them is a Classical temple with a Greek inscription demonstrating that it was dedicated to Apollo.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 557
  • Shawe-Taylor, Desmond, The Georgians : eighteenth-¿century portraiture & society, 1990, p. 76 number 48

Events of 1700back to top

Current affairs

The sudden death of Prince William, son of Princess Anne and George, Prince of Denmark, triggers a succession crisis. His birth had secured the succession of the crown to a Protestant, safeguarding the throne from any future claim by James II's Catholic son, James Francis.

Art and science

Dramatist, William Congreve's comedy The Way of the World premieres at Lincoln's Inn Theatre, receiving a mixed reception. It would achieve greater literary acclaim in modern times.
Poet, John Dryden, dies and is buried in Geoffrey Chaucer's grave in Westminster Abbey.

International

Diplomat and poet, Matthew Prior, secretly negotiates with Louis XIV, king of France, a second partition treaty concerning the Spanish Empire. However, following the death of Spanish ruler, Carlos II, the agreement collapses since neither Spanish or Austrian governments accept the treaty's proposals.

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