Unknown man, formerly known as Sir James Thornhill

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Unknown man, formerly known as Sir James Thornhill

by John Closterman
circa 1702-1705
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/4 in. (749 mm x 616 mm)
NPG 1261

This portraitback to top

The traditional identification of this elegant young man as the youthful Thornhill cannot be maintained, given a total absence of supporting material. It was first rejected by Piper in 1963.

Referenceback to top

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 343 as called Thornhill by an unknown artist.

Rogers 1983
M. Rogers, 'John and John Baptist Closterman: a catalogue of their works', Wal Soc., XLIX, no.118 as an unknown youth by John Closterman.

Provenanceback to top

Hamlet [possibly Thomas Hamlet, 1770-1853];1 G. C. Handford; Miss Jane Handford sale,2 2nd day, 15 March 1900, lot 471 as a self portrait by Thornhill; Colnaghi, from whom purchased 1900 as a self portrait by Thornhill.

1 Stretcher inscribed in a mid-19th century hand: Portrait of Sir James Thornhill Painted by Imself Late the Property [of] Mr Hamlet, NPG 1261 is not identifiable in the Hamlet sales 1833-41.
2 A self-portrait by Kneller in this sale also came from Hamlet's collection.


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 James Thornhill