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The Seven Bishops Committed to the Tower in 1688

4 of 29 portraits of William Sancroft

The Seven Bishops Committed to the Tower in 1688, by Unknown artist, based on a work of circa 1689 -NPG 79 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

The Seven Bishops Committed to the Tower in 1688

by Unknown artist
based on a work of circa 1689
38 in. x 33 in. (965 mm x 838 mm)
NPG 79

Inscriptionback to top

Top row
Willm Ld Bpp of St. Asaph [William Lloyd (1627-1717)]
Francis Ld Bpp of Ely [Francis Turner (1637-1700)]

Middle row
Iohn Ld Bpp. of Chichester [John Lake (1624-89)]
William Ld. Arch. Bpp. of CANTERBURY [William Sancroft (1617-93)]
Tho. Ld. Bpp. of Bath & Wells [Thomas Ken (1637-1711)]

Bottom row
ROBT. Ld. Bpp of Peterborough [Thomas [sic] White (1628-98)]
Ionathan Ld Bpp of Bristol [Sir John Trelawny, 3rd Bt. (1650-1721)]

This portraitback to top

One of the many images celebrating the resolution of those seven Bishops who, under Archbishop Sancroft’s leadership, petitioned James II to withdraw the second Declaration of Indulgence. Refusing to read it out in their churches, they were imprisoned on 8 June 1688 in the Tower and brought to trial, but pronounced not guilty on 15 June. Public celebration was enthusiastic and provided ‘one of the few occasions on which bishops have been treated as popular heroes’. [1] Five of the Bishops (Sancroft, Ken, Lake, Turner and White), the Non-Jurors, remained loyal to the Divine Right of succession to the throne and declined to take the oath of allegiance to William III and Mary.
NPG 79 is a crude copy of the print by J. Drapentier, with identical lettering, except in the name of Thomas White. Fourteen prints of the Seven Bishops are listed in the British Museum [2]. Possibly the best was that drawn (except for the head of Lake copied from Mary Beale) and engraved by David Loggan. See NPG 152a.
The many versions in oil include those in the Palace of Westminster (189; with Thomas White’s name correctly inscribed), and in St Andrew’s College, Selly Oak, Birmingham. [3]

Footnotesback to top

1) J. H. Moorman, History of the Church in England, 1967 ed., p 63.
2) F. O’Donoghue & H. M. Hake, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits in the … British Museum, V, pp 15-16.
3) J. Ingamells, The English Episcopal Portrait 1559-1835, catalogue, 1981, pp 424-25.

Referenceback to top

Ingamells 1981
J. Ingamells, The English Episcopal Portrait, 1981, p 424.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 391.

Provenanceback to top

‘The Gray family’; Adams (a brewer of Kingston c.1770); his sister Miss Adams of Ashford; James Adams of Staines, c.1820;1 his son, George G. Adams, from whom purchased 1859.

1 Provenance taken from a letter dated 1 June 1859 from James Adams to his son George Adams and a letter from George Adams to Scharf dated 26 May 1859 (both on file).

Exhibitionsback to top

Beningbrough 1978–.


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.

View all known portraits for Thomas Ken

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View all known portraits for Thomas White