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.

Jacob Tonson II

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Jacob Tonson II

by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
circa 1720
35 3/4 in. x 27 5/8 in. (908 mm x 702 mm)
NPG 4091

Inscriptionback to top

Signed, bottom left: GK (monogram).

This portraitback to top

The identity is based upon the provenance and the general physical resemblance to Jacob Tonson I. Of kit-cat size, but not framed as the Kit-Cat Club set, NPG 4091 was probably painted at the time he succeeded to his uncle’s business. It is a late work by Kneller.
A copy from Nuneham [1] sold Christie’s, 11 June 1948, lot 88 as James Thomson by W. Aikman, was later sold Sotheby’s, 9 November 1966, lot 89 as Jacob Tonson by Kneller. A bust-length copy was with J. Fraser, Buxton, in 1958.

Footnotesback to top

1) Sir George Scharf’s Sketch Books, 75:57 in 1866 as James Thomson; see E. W. Harcourt ed., The Harcourt Papers, III, p 260.

Referenceback to top

NACF 56th Report, 1959, p 21.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 347 as c.1720?.

Stewart 1983
J. D. Stewart, Godfrey Kneller, 1983, no.754 as c.1720.

Provenanceback to top

Sold from Bayfordbury, Christie’s, 1 June 1945, lot 102, and presumably kept with the kit-cat portraits; anon. sale, Christie’s, 11 November 1949, lot 98; presented by Sir Alec and Lady Martin through the National Art Collections Fund, February 1959.

Exhibitionsback to top

Beningbrough 2006–.


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 Godfrey Kneller, Bt

View all known portraits for Jacob Tonson II