Sir Godfrey Kneller – Painter

On this day, the 8th of August 1646 Sir Godfrey Kneller was born in Lubeck (as Gottfried Kniller). Kneller became one of the most sought-after portrait painters of the late 17th and early 18th century, rising to be the court painter in England under Charles II. He is part of a long line of foreign, mainly German and Dutch, artists like Hans Holbein, Anthony van Dyck and Sir Peter Lely who defined the image of the Tudor and in particular the Stuart court. Kneller stands at the end of this tradition. After him native English painters came to the fore as English/British art and architecture begun to diverge dramatically from continental traditions. Gainsborough, Reynolds, Romney, Capability Brown etc. were to create the unique Georgian style that is so quintessentially English/British.

He lasted through the demise of the Stuarts and in 1715 was made Baron of Whitton in Middlesex. by George I. He is the only painter to be commemorated in Westminster Abbey.

I live close to Whitton and Twickenham and never knew one of my more famous compatriots was buried here, hence the post.

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