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Grinling Gibbons

2 of 872 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Making art'

Grinling Gibbons, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt, based on a work of circa 1690 -NPG 2925 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Grinling Gibbons

after Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
based on a work of circa 1690
48 1/2 in. x 39 in. (1232 mm x 991 mm)
NPG 2925

This portraitback to top

The bust is a cast of Bernini’s Proserpina (from the Pluto and Proserpina in the Galleria Borghese). [1] Stewart proposed the portrait contained a classical allegory of wisdom controlling the senses, the sculptor’s firm hold of the bust and his compasses subduing Proserpina, goddess of the senses. [2]
NPG 2925 is a copy, perhaps from the later 18th century, of the celebrated original from the Walpole collection (where considered by Horace Walpole ‘a Master-piece, and equal to any of Vandyke’s’ [3]), now in the Hermitage (1346). [4] Two of Kneller’s preliminary drawings are in a private collection. [5] A good early copy from Serlby Hall was sold Christie’s, 23 November 1979, lot 150, [6] and a reduced, reversed, version by George Clint is at Petworth. [7]

Footnotesback to top

1) As first recognised by Jennifer Montagu, letter of 20 January 1965 (on file). J. D. Stewart, Godfrey Kneller, 1983, p 8n32, p 179, under D79, suggested the cast belonged to Kneller.
2) J. D. Stewart, Art and Painting at the Caroline Court, 1993, pp 255-60.
3) Walpole, Aedes Walpolianae, 1752, p 45 (Kneller’s composition may perhaps be related to Van Dyck’s grisaille of Andreas Colyns de Nole at Boughton, S. J. Barnes, N. de Poorter, O. Millar & H. Vey, Van Dyck, a Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, 2004, III.158).
4) J. D. Stewart, Godfrey Kneller, 1983, no.302 as c.1690; A Capital Collection, Houghton Hall and the Hermitage, ed. L. Dukelskaya & A. Moore, 2002, p 297, no.199; British Art from the Hermitage, Toledo/Saint Louis/New Haven/St Petersburg, 1996-98, p 162, no.7; engraved J. Smith 1690, reversed (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 105). Smith’s preparatory chalk drawing is in the Ashmolean Museum (D. B. Brown, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Catalogue of the Collection of Drawings, IV, The Earlier British Drawings, 1982, no.1680). An engraving by P. Schenck (F. W. H. Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish Etchings Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700, 845) shows the same composition entitled Pieter van der Plaes (as indicated by Elizaveta Renne in A Capital Collection, Houghton Hall and the Hermitage, ed. L. Dukelskaya & A. Moore, 2002, p 297).
5) J. D. Stewart, Godfrey Kneller, 1983, D79, D80, pls 111a & b.
6) Exhibited Art Treasures, Manchester, 1857, British Portrait Gallery 241; First Special Exhibition of National Portraits ( ... ending with the reign of James the second), South Kensington, 1867, no.948 lent Viscount Galway.
7) Cat. 1920, p 16, no.147.

Referenceback to top

Gibson 1999
K. Gibson, Apollo, CL, September 1999, pp 21, 25 as c.1684-85.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, pp 136-137.

Provenanceback to top

The Earls of Aylesford, Packington Hall;1 sold Christie’s, 23 July 1937, lot 65 as Lely, Portrait of a Sculptor, bought Leggatt, from whom purchased September 1937.

1 Previously listed as lot 83 in the Aylesford sale, Christie’s, 4 June 1881, which did not take place (Scharf, extra-illus. copy of sale cat., NPG).

Exhibitionsback to top

Beningbrough 1978–; Gibbons and the Art of Carving, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1998–99.


This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685–1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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