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John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, by John Closterman; John Riley, based on a work of circa 1685-1690 -NPG 501 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

possibly by John Closterman, after John Riley
based on a work of circa 1685-1690
29 5/8 in. x 24 3/4 in. (754 mm x 630 mm)
NPG 501

This portraitback to top

The face mask recurs in the three-quarter-length attributed to Riley 1685-90 at Blenheim. A three-quarter-length version (of square format, with right hand holding baton and left on hip, his helmet lying on a table to the left) is also at Blenheim where attributed to Closterman. [1] The distinction between the late works of Riley (d. 1691) and the early works of John Closterman, who was working with him in the later 1680s, remains unclear. [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) G. Scharf, Catalogue raisonné; or, A List of the Pictures in Blenheim Palace, 1862, p 26 as by Kneller.
2) Cf. M. Rogers, ‘John and John Baptist Closterman: a catalogue of their works’, Wal. Soc., XLIX, 1983, pp 226-27.

Referenceback to top

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 216.

Provenanceback to top

Sir George Henry Smyth (1784-1852) of Berechurch Hall, Colchester; his son-in-law, Thomas White (d. 1878); Christie’s, 23 March 1878, lot 33, ‘Marlborough by Kneller’, bought Henry Graves,1 from whom purchased 1878.

1 Seen by Scharf who noted in the sale catalogue: ‘oval in square canvas, to waist in armour face ¾ to right. Light from r.h. no garter. Face as in Closterman … the property of Thomas George Graham White Esq deceased, grandson and heir of Sir G. H. Smyth, MP late of Berechurch Hall, Essex [whose estates passed to his daughter Charlotte who married Thomas White of Dobbins in Wethersfield, Essex, and who d. 1845 leaving issue]’. Smyth had inherited pictures from Sir Robert Graham (1744-1836).

Exhibitionsback to top

Beningbrough 1979–.

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 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough


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