JI Smith Mezzotint engraving after Sir Godfrey Kneller. Self Portrait. Trimmed on or to margins. 27 by 36.4 cms image. 31.2 by 40.7 cms framed.
Born in Germany, Godfrey Kneller trained in Amsterdam and travelled in Italy before settling in London in 1676. After the deaths of Peter Lely in 1680 and William Wissing in 1687, he established himself as the dominant portrait painter in England for the next 30 years: he was made Principal Painter to William III in 1689, knighted and made a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber in 1692, awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford in 1695, made a knight of the Holy Roman Empire in 1700, confirmed as Principal Painter to Queen Anne in 1702 and to George I in 1714, and finally created a Baronet in 1715, a rank unsurpassed by an artist in Britain until Frederic Leighton was created Baron Leighton of Stretton almost two centuries later.