circle of John James Baker, Portrait of an Unknown Man

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Portrait of an Unknown Man
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 75 cm, Overall width: 62 cm
circle of John James Baker (fl. c.1685-1725)
Catalogue Number


This portrait has previously been identified as George Horner II (1646–1707). However, the sitter’s costume, in particular the wide cuffs and fringed cravat, date the portrait to c.1705–10. He is evidently a much younger man than George Horner, who can be seen in MM42 with a distinctive mole on his right cheek, which this sitter does not have. The seventeenth-century Horner family portraits have all been framed as a group, whereas the design of this portrait’s frame is the same as MM39 (possibly John Strangways) and MM41 (unknown sitter by Kneller).

The artist is unknown but the sombre yet sensitive portrayal of the sitter’s face shows some similarities with the work of John James Baker (fl. c.1685–1725). In particular, Baker’s portrait of Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford, in his group portrait The Whig Junto (1710, Tate, London, T15046) shows similar colouring and modelling of the fleshiness around the eyes and chin.

by Amy Lim

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