Sir Godfrey Kneller

German (1646 - 1723)
Sir Godfrey Kneller Lord Charles Murray, 1st Earl of Dunmore, 1661 - 1710. Soldier 1683

Biography

Born 1646
Died 1723
Nationality German
Birth place Lübeck
Death place London

Kneller was a German artist who trained in Amsterdam under Ferdinand Bol and Rembrandt. He came to London in 1674 and became the leading portrait painter in England during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. 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.