Oil on canvas; 30 by 25 in; 76 x 63.5 cm; held in a 19th century giltwood frame
Provenance: Private Collection, England
This portrait relates to Sir Godfrey Kneller’s official state portrait of King William III now at Windsor Castle. King William III and Queen Mary are recorded as having sat to Kneller at Kensington Palace in March 1690. Kneller’s finished full-length portraits of the King and Queen were hanging in the Council Chamber at Kensington Palace by 1697 and remained there until they were sent to Windsor Castle in 1795. These portraits were almost immediately regarded as the approved official likenesses of William and his Queen, and Kneller and his studio were required to produce numerous copies of them for despatch to the King’s ministers, friends, representatives abroad and foreign sovereigns and governments. Among the English Country House collections in which other paired copies are recorded are those at Hatfield, Narford, Penshurst, Grimsthorpe and Welbeck.
This scaled down version of the grand full-length would have been created in this way around this time and was probably intended for a smaller drawing room or hallway, perhaps for a London town house. The intention would have been definitely for it to be set in a fairly prominent position where it could be seen by those visiting that the owner was a supporter of the new Protestant monarch as opposed to the Catholic one he sent fleeing during the Glorious Revolution of 1688.