circle of Godfrey Kneller, Unknown Man

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Doddington Hall
Unknown Man
Upper Staircase From Ground Floor
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 74.5 cm, Overall width: 62 cm
circle of Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)
Catalogue Number


The portrait has been identified previously as the wealthy merchant Thomas Pitt (known as ‘Diamond Pitt’) (1653–1726). Pitt was born in Blandford Forum, Dorset, son of the Reverend John Pitt and Sarah Jay. He may well have been related to Margaret Pitt, wife of William Lowth and daughter of Robert Pitt, also of Blandford Forum. However, the likeness in the present portrait to the full-length portrait of Thomas Pitt by Kneller (Chevening, Sevenoaks, Kent) is unconvincing. Nor do the characterisation and dress of the sitter resemble that of a wealthy merchant. A possibility, given the passing likeness and dress, is that this is the portrait described by Cole as the philosopher John Locke (1632–1704), which in the late nineteenth century hung in the Long Gallery. On stylistic grounds, the portrait would appear to date to c.1690–1700, and is by an artist in the circle of Godfrey Kneller.

by Martin Postle

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