Godfrey Kneller

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The painter from the free city of Lübeck - Godfrey Kneller


Godfrey Kneller graced the world on the 8th of August, 1646. He was a very famous portrait painter of the late 17th century, England. He is well-known for the amazing artworks that depict the English monarchs and famous personalities. He is a persistent and dedicated portrait painter that has left a long-lasting impression in the world of art. He was hired by the great kings of England, like William III and Charles II. Being a rank holder at the royal courts, he was honored with esteemed positions in England, such as the Principal Painter of the Crown.

 His early life

Godfrey Kneller comes from a decent family lineage. He was the son of Zacharias Killer, who was also a portrait painter. Before migrating to Italy, Kneller studied under Ferdinand Bol in Amsterdam. He then moved to Italy with his brother, John Zacharias Kneller, and traveled around painting portraits of historical and elite subjects. They traveled to Rome and later to Hamburg as well. On reaching England in 1676, he painted Charles II's portrait, which aided his popularity. Years of hard work made him an expert in portraiture. He had married Susanna Grave, but they had no children.

 His Artworks

As a portrait painter, Godfrey was highly favored by England's royals and local elites. His style of art was detailed and quite broad. Some of his best works include the portrait collection of the 42 members of the Kit-Cat club - a well-known political association of that time. This piece is now hung proudly in the National Portrait Gallery of London. He gained popularity after painting Charles II's portrait. Hampton Court Beauties of William III's court, which Kneller painted, displayed the dazzling ladies of the Royal Court. His other great works include the four portraits of Isaac Newton and the ten Reigning European Monarchs.


Godfrey Kneller passed away on the 4th of October, 1723, in London, England. The cause of death being fever. A couple of years before his death, he was appointed the churchwarden in St. Mary's, Twickenham. He had planned for the church's reconstruction with the other superiors. The house that he had built now serves as the home to the Royal Military School of Music.