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Unknown man, formerly known as John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

Unknown man, formerly known as John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, by Unknown artist, based on a work of circa 1704 -NPG 1858 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Unknown man, formerly known as John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

by Unknown artist
based on a work of circa 1704
30 1/2 in. x 24 3/4 in. (775 mm x 629 mm)
NPG 1858

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed, lower right: John Duke of/Marlborough/1704.

This portraitback to top

NPG 1858 is of copy quality and was acquired as a portrait of the 3rd Earl of Peterborough ascribed to Kneller. The traditional Kneller attribution is questionable, and, as Piper observed, there is a marked resemblance to Marlborough (as whom it had been sold in 1919). Nothing may be added to his conclusion that ‘the likelihood is that [NPG 1858] is a fairly free posthumous copy based on a lost original presumably of 1704 [the inscribed date, and the year of Blenheim], and that it was intended to represent Marlborough but that its value as a likeness is very questionable’.

Referenceback to top

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 218 as Marlborough after Kneller.

Steegman 1962
J. Steegman, Portraits in Welsh Houses, II, 1962, p 696 as an unknown sitter.

Provenanceback to top

Wentworth Castle;1 Vernon-Wentworth sale, Christie’s, 13 November 1919, lot 77 as The Duke of Marlborough, ascribed to Kneller; purchased from Leggatt 1920 as the 3rd Earl of Peterborough.2

1 A Duke of Marlborough was listed at Wentworth Castle in 1770 (Sir William Musgrave, MS lists of portraits, British Museum, Add. MSS 5726e5, f.13). A ‘Duke of Marlborough’ in the Wentworth Castle sale, 3rd day, 9 June 1948, lot 682, was certainly wrongly named.
2 See NPG 1366 which was sold in 1920 in part exchange.


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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