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Unknown man, formerly known as Nicholas Rowe

1 of 5 portraits of Nicholas Rowe

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Unknown man, formerly known as Nicholas Rowe

by Unknown artist
1700-1720
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/2 in. (749 mm x 622 mm)
NPG 1512

This portraitback to top

A very weak painting received as a portrait of the poet and critic Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718) but, despite the provenance, this identity is not acceptable. The sitter does not sufficiently compare with the two accepted Kneller portraits of Rowe. [1]

Footnotesback to top

1) The three-quarter-length from Nuneham, said to have belonged to Jacob Tonson (Catalogue of Pictures belonging to Lord Harcourt at Nuneham Park, 1806, p 14; E. W. Harcourt ed., The Harcourt Papers, III, p 247), sold Christie's, 11 June 1948, lot 125, and from Sotheby's, July 2000, on the internet; and the half-length, best seen at Scampston (J. D. Stewart, Godfrey Kneller, 1983, no.622), with versions at Knole (listed in 1775, Sir William Musgrave, MS lists of portraits, British Museum, Add. MSS 5726E, f.12, no.163), and in the Sterling Library, London University (D. Piper, ‘The Chesterfield House Literary Portraits’, in R. Wellek & A. Ribeiro eds., Essays in Memory of James Marshall Osborn, 1979, p 192, no.16, as Richardson after Kneller). A three-quarter-length engraving by Faber I 1715 (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 61) relates.

Referenceback to top

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, pp 302-03.

Provenanceback to top

Bequeathed by Joshua Brooking Rowe1 1908.

1 c.1837-1908, solicitor, of Castle Barbican, Plympton. Conceivably a collateral descendant of the poet.


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.