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John Locke

4 of 32 portraits of John Locke

John Locke, by Michael Dahl, circa 1693 -NPG 114 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

John Locke

by Michael Dahl
circa 1693
29 1/2 in. x 24 in. (749 mm x 610 mm) oval
NPG 114

This portraitback to top

Vertue records from ‘J. E.’s Epigrams’ of 1700, under the title ‘the Effigies of Mr Lock by Dahl’, the couplet ‘Here you beholds the Image of a Sage/The Ornament and Wonder of his Age’. [1] This is, apparently, the only contemporary printed reference to Dahl having painted Locke. The NPG portraits were not engraved and Dahl is not mentioned in the Locke correspondence.
Both NPG 114 and NPG 5385 appear to be by Dahl. [2] The latter, inscribed and dated 1696, is probably a replica and NPG 114 the original; there are minor differences in wig, drapery and stock. The drawing by Brounower NPG 4061 appears to derive from this Dahl pattern (it bears a closer, but not exact, resemblance to NPG 114) and, since it was being engraved in 1693-4, implies a preceding date for NPG 114 (see NPG 4061).
The earliest provenance of NPG 114 is uncertain. There was a 19th-century label on the verso (now separately preserved):

John Locke by Kneller - In Testamony of Regard to His Friend Paul D’Arand of Putney Surry The Maternal Ancestor of its present Possessor, The Revd. George Coxe, of Twyford, Hants.
which could imply that Coxe acquired the portrait in memory of his D’Aranda ancestors, rather than from them.
A drawing of the Dahl head by Jonathan Richardson (probably after NPG 5385, rather than NPG 114) in the British Museum (1902.0822.23) is inscribed by the artist’s son, verso By My F[athe]r. fr[om]. S. Godfrey [Kneller]: when a learner. [3] A second Richardson wash drawing of the same head was acquired by the Bodleian Library in 1978. Despite the Richardson inscription and Coxe’s label, an attribution to Kneller seems impossible.

Footnotesback to top

1) G. Vertue, Notebooks, Wal. Soc., XX, 1932 p 17 (W. Nisser, Michael Dahl, 1927, cat. p 66, no.91).
2) Despite being exhibited as Kneller in 1857, NPG 114 was received in 1860 as by S. Brounower; in 1888 it was listed as T. Brounower; in 1920 as J. Closterman after Kneller; in 1949 as attributed to Dahl.
3) See C. Gibson-Wood, Jonathan Richardson, 2000, pp 28-29 illus.

Referenceback to top

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 209.

Provenanceback to top

[Awnsham Churchill (d. 1728)?; Paul D’Aranda (c.1686-1732)]1 the Rev George Coxe (c.1756-1844);2 his sale, Twyford, Hants., presumably in 1844, bought by the Rev Henry Wellesley (1794-1866), from whom purchased 1860.

1 For Churchill, see NPG 5385. Paul D’Aranda, merchant, sold his inherited property at Shoreham, Kent, in 1715 and retired to Putney; he became bankrupt in 1718 but his pictures were exempt from liquidation (W. M. Acres, The Bank of England from Within, 1931, I, p 161). His father Paul D’Aranda (1652-1712), merchant and JP of Shoreham, Kent, had been Locke’s correspondent between 1689 and 1701 (see Locke Corr., III, 1978, p 567) and was Coxe’s maternal great-grandfather (see also Notes and Queries, CL, 1926, pp 105, 139-40).
2 Brother of the antiquary Archdeacon William Coxe (1748-1828) and of the auctioneer and writer Peter Coxe (1753-1844); ‘noted for his taste in literature and the fine arts which he continued unostentatiously to cultivate as long as his faculties permitted’ (Gentleman's Magazine, 1844, II, p 653).

Exhibitionsback to top

Manchester, Art Treasures, 1857, British Portrait Gallery 223 as by Kneller; Locke’s Library, Messrs Bumpus, London, 1932; Le Livre Anglais, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, 1951, no.481; Voltaire, musée de l’Ile de France, Chateau de Sceaux, 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.

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