The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt, 1702 -NPG 2881 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Sir Isaac Newton

by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
1702
29 3/4 in. x 24 1/2 in. (756 mm x 622 mm)
NPG 2881

Inscriptionback to top

Signed, centre left: G Kneller/1702 (GK in monogram).

This portraitback to top

The second of three Kneller portraits of Newton. A signed studio copy is in the Hunterian collection, Glasgow; [1] other copies are in the Royal Mint (Government Art Collection 6732) [2] and at Knole; [3] a miniature by Bernard Lens III, formerly at Ickworth, was sold Sotheby’s, 26 November 1992, lot 370, [4] and a plumbago drawing by David Paton, Sotheby’s, 7 March 1983, lot 22. [5]

Footnotesback to top

1) From Dr Richard Mead; M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, III-2, p 14.
2) M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, III-3, p.15; illus. The Public Catalogue Foundation, Government Art Collection, p 164.
3) M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, III-4, p 16; C. J. Phillips, History of the Sackville Family, 1929, II, p 439; bought by the Duke of Dorset in 1777.
4) M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, III-8, p 18.
5) M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, III-6, p 16.

Referenceback to top

Fara 2002
P. Fara, Newton, the Making of a Genius, 2002, pp 31, 35.

Keynes 2005
M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, III-1, p 15.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, pp 248-49.

Stewart 1983
J. D. Stewart, Godfrey Kneller, 1983, no.529.

Provenanceback to top

By descent from the sitter’s niece, Catherine Barton (d. 1739) who married John Conduitt (1688-1737);1 their daughter married 1740 John, Viscount Lymington, eldest son of the 1st Earl of Portsmouth; by descent through the Earls of Portsmouth; Portsmouth sale of Newtoniana, Sotheby’s, 14 July 1936, lot 330, bought Rosenbach, from whom purchased with the help of the National Art Collections Fund.

1 Who succeeded Newton as Master of the Royal Mint and gathered material for a Newton biography which remained unpublished.

Exhibitionsback to top

Sir Godfrey Kneller, NPG, 1971, no.81; Sterling and the Euro, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1999.

Reproductionsback to top

1 J. Smith 1712 (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 190);2 J. Simon (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 109); A. Miller 1744 (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 38); J. Houbraken 1743 (as from the collection of John Conduitt).

1 These engravings further described by M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, XLIII 1–3, 7, pp 55–56; Keynes describes a total of thirteen derivative plates.
2 A half-length copy from Smith’s reversed engraving is in the Uffizi (IC341) acquired in 1720 (M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, III–7, pp 16-17).


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 Sir Isaac Newton

View all known portraits for Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt