Object Image

Sir John Vanbrugh

Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726), Architect and dramatist.

Both Kneller and the architect and dramatist John Vanbrugh were members of the Kit-cat Club, a club established by the publisher Jacob Tonson, which originally met in a tavern near Temple Bar kept by Christopher Cat and from 1703 onwards sometimes met in Tonson's house at Barn Elms near Putney. It was essentially a drinking club but, as often happens in clubs, attracted a group of like-minded individuals united by politics (they were almost all Whigs) and by intellectual and artistic interests. So this portrait is not only a record of a great architect, painted when he was at the height of his career, presumably soon after he received the commission to design Blenheim Palace, but also a record of friendship between the painter and the sitter.

c. 1705
Oil on canvas
914.0 x 711.0mm
NPG 3231
Image and text © National Portrait Gallery, 2022

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