Sir Godfrey Kneller
A painter of vast conceit
c.1648 - 1723
Painter of Kings and prominent people
Sir Godfrey Kneller was the greatest painter of English portraits in his time. King William and Queen Mary made him their Court Painter and he worked for two more reigning monarchs.
His work was popular and many people asked him to paint their portraits - politicians, scientists, writers and the gentry. Many of his portraits can be seen today in art galleries and country houses. And you can see some on the website of the National Portrait Gallery.
Moves to Kneller Hall
He built Kneller Hall for himself: it was called Whitton Hall at that time. It was large with a studio where he and a number of assistants worked. He needed the assistants to help him complete such a large number of paintings. The house was mainly rebuilt in about 1850.
When Sir Godfrey died there were about 800 of his paintings in Kneller Hall which were sold by his widow.