Godfrey Kneller, Unknown Man

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Unknown Man
The State Dining Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 123 cm, Overall width: 96 cm
Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)
Catalogue Number
  • Signed & dated middle right: ‘Kneller/ 1722’


This painting is signed by Kneller and dated 1722, which means it cannot be a portrait of Admiral the Hon. George Townshend (1716–1769) as previously suggested, since he would have been only six years old at the time. The figure is an excellent example of Kneller’s late style, which is characterised by more softly defined forms. The format of a man standing in front of a rocky outcrop, behind which is a sea scene with ships, was a common device in naval portraiture of the period. Kneller would have collaborated with a specialist to paint the ships to a high level of accuracy. The marine painter Peter Monamy (1681–1749) is a possible contributor to this picture, as his signature is included in a copy after a similar portrait of Admiral James Berkeley, 3rd Earl of Berkeley (1680–1736) by Kneller in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (BHC 2552).

by Emily Burns


Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, ed. Rev. Edmund Farrer, vol. 2, Norwich : Jarrold and Sons, 1928, vol. 2, p. 235, no. 61 (‘MAN’)

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