There is some doubt over the artist of this portrait of Henry St John, First Viscount Bolingbroke, a Tory politician, diplomat and writer. An engraving of the portrait, which is reversed, was produced by printmaker Simon Ravenet (1706-1774). However, the lettering on the print does not reveal the artist’s name.
Charles Jervas, portrait painter, was born in Dublin. He moved to London in the mid 1690s, where he studied under Sir Godfrey Kneller. In 1698, he travelled to Paris to study in the Louvre and then on to Rome, where he copied antique statuary and paintings by the Italian Masters. He also purchased art on behalf of English collectors. Jervas returned to London in 1709 and established a successful career painting portraits. In 1723 he succeeded Kneller as Principal Painter to King George I and later to George II. Jervas had literary ambitions and published translations of ‘Novella di Belfagor’ by Machiavelli in 1719 and Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ in 1742.
Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751) politician, diplomat and author
Oil on canvas
height: 77.50 cm, width: 64.00 cm
Purchased from Richard Gayner, April 1966
tl: Ld.. Bolingbroke.
Collection of suspected murderer (Richard) John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan (1934-in or after 1974); by whom sold through Sotheby's, London, 'Catalogue of Old Master Paintings; including the property of the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Lucan' sale, on 21 October 1964 (Lot 2), for £95, as by 'G. Kneller'; from which sale purchased by Richard Gayner; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in April 1966
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