William Stukeley

William Stukeley, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt, 4 February 1721 -NPG 4266 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Stukeley

by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
4 February 1721
11 3/8 in. x 7 3/4 in. (289 mm x 197 mm)
NPG 4266

Inscriptionback to top

Signed and inscribed in a contemporary hand, quite likely that of Kneller himself, Fecit Gotfridus Kneller Bartus 4 Feb: 1720/1/Wm Stukeley MD. This has been gone over again more thickly; verso inscribed W: Stukeley in a contemporary or at least early hand and Boulonger (?) Gallery'/12/- in what is probably a late nineteenth-century hand.

This portraitback to top

Some doubt had been cast on the attribution, and the theory expressed that the drawing had been reworked by the sitter. However the powerful profile, rare in English portraiture of this date, is a typical Kneller concept, as for instance his George I (NPG 4223); and comparison with the drawings recently identified by Professor Stewart now suggests that the execution is Kneller's throughout. [1] This is strengthened by the sitter's diary which has on 4 February 1720 the entry ‘Sr. Godfr. Kn. sketched my profile on paper'. [2] The style may be compared with the British Museum's profile drawing of Pope with ivy leaves in the hair [3] as in the engraving of Stukeley for the Itinerarium Curiosum. No oil is known, but a number of profiles seem to be related to NPG 4266.

Footnotesback to top

1) Exhibited 'Sir Godfrey Kneller', NPG 1971, passim.
2) Family Memoirs of William Stukeley, ed. W. C. Lukis, I, p 63.
3) Catalogue of British Drawings (in the Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum) XVI and XVII Centuries, by E. Croft-Murray, P. Hulton and C. White, 1960, I, p 390 (11), II, pl.185.

Physical descriptionback to top

Own hair, close trimmed; neckband, shoulders outlined; grey wash background, lit from left.

Conservationback to top

Damp stain down left edge of paper; upper left hand corner replaced; spotting down the right edge and a small tear near the bottom.

Provenanceback to top

Given 1962 by Sir Alan Barlow, Bart (Sir J. A. N. Barlow, Bart); with E. Parsons & Sons, Brompton Road, July 1914; previous history unknown.

Exhibitionsback to top

'Sir Godfrey Kneller', NPG 1971 (50).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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 Godfrey Kneller, Bt

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