Lady Worsley, Wife of Sir Robert Worsley

by Sir Godfrey Kneller


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 49 x 40 inches (124.5 x 101.6 cm)
SIGNATURE: Titled (lower left)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas



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    This beautiful portrait depicts Frances Thynne, daughter of Viscount Weymouth and wife of Sir Robert Worsley, 4th Baronet. The couple married in 1690 and resided at Apuldurcombe on the Isle of Wight.

    Painted in the manner of an earlier portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller, the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. He was also court painter to English and British monarchs from Charles II to George I.

    Wells College Aurora, New York;

    Private Collection, United Kingdom

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    He was born Gottfried Kniller on 8th August 1646 at Lubeck in Germany, a son of Zacharias Kniller and his wife Lucia. After being educated at Leiden he studied under Rembrandt. Later he studied in Rome and came to England in 1674 to see Van Dyck’s works. He started painting portraits of the English nobility and his fame grew. With his brother John he lived in Covent Garden in London and became court painter during five reigns. The output from his studio was enormous and included effectively everyone of importance from the reign of Charles II to George I. Kneller popularised the “Kit-Cat” format for portraits (36 x 28 inches), named after his portraits of the members of the famous Whig dining club. The founding governor of the first academy of art in England, his position as court and society painter was unrivalled. Kneller was Principal Painter from 1689, and in 1715 was created a baronet, a rank that was not surpassed by any artist for over a century. In 1704 he married Susanna Grave (nee Cawley) but had no children. By his mistress Mrs Voss he had a daughter Catherine. In 1715 he was created a baronet and died on 26th October 1723. He lay in state in his London house and was buried at St Mary’s church, Twickenham in Middlesex (where Pope was later buried).

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