Sir Godfrey Kneller (August 8, 1646 – October 19, 1723), was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. As painter to the court his work spanned the reigns of Charles II to George I and his portraits included many of the leading figures of the day, among them Sir Issac Newton, Samuel Pepys and John Locke. He lived at Kneller Hall, in Twickenham. He also produced over 40 kit-cat portraits of members of the Kit-Cat Club; and ten beauties of the court of William III, to match a similar series of ten of Charles II’s mistresses painted by Kneller’s predecessor as court painter, Sir Peter Lely. Originally from Lübeck in modern day Germany he came to England in 1676 where his talent was quickly spotted. He died of fever in 1723 and his remains were interred at Twickenham. He had been a churchwarden at St Mary’s, Twickenham, when the 14thCentury nave collapsed in 1713, and was active in the plans for the church’s reconstruction. His widow was buried at Twickenham on December 11, 1729.
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