Portrait of King William III when Prince of Orange; Provenance: Dublin Castle
Portrait of King William III when Prince of Orange; Provenance: Dublin Castle
Portrait of King William III when Prince of Orange; Provenance: Dublin Castle
Portrait of King William III when Prince of Orange; Provenance: Dublin Castle
Portrait of King William III when Prince of Orange; Provenance: Dublin Castle
Portrait of King William III when Prince of Orange; Provenance: Dublin Castle

Follower of SIR GODFREY KNELLER (1646-1723)

Portrait of King William III when Prince of Orange; Provenance: Dublin Castle

c. 1690 to c. 1730 United Kingdom

Offered by Titan Fine Art


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Follower or Circle of Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

This grand scale portrait painted circa 1700 depicts King William III, when William of Orange (Prince of Orange) on the battlefield, possibly during The Glorious Revolution. It is the epidemy of the early propaganda portrait. Images such as this were an essential tool that King William and his supporters used to emphasise and glorify his importance and further his cause. As such many were created and there were as many different variations. Painted in warm tones the sitter has been depicted with a straightforward and honest manner. The work is resminsent of Sir Godfrey Knerller and Willem Wissing and is very impressive in quality and scale. The portrait was at Dublin Castle before it was sold to the Domville family of Santry Court, Dublin sometime before 1888.

Prince William of Orange (later King William III) was highly important in the politics of Europe. He had been Captain General of the Dutch United Provinces in their war against the armies of Louis XIV and was an important figure to the Protestant cause in England. In 1677, William married his cousin Mary. Mary was the eldest daughter of James, Duke of York, who was the brother of Charles II and heir to the English throne. James and his wife were Catholic and Protestants worried that any son born to the couple would eventually become a Catholic king. The marriage of William and Mary had been encouraged by Charles II, Mary’s uncle and James’s brother, as it raised the prospect of a Protestant heir to the throne.

Charles II died in 1685 and James became King James II and many in Protestant England were deeply suspicious of the new Catholic monarch. When his wife gave birth to a son it confirmed their worst fears of a Catholic succession. This meant that Mary was no longer next in line to the throne. Alarmed by the situation, a group of James's Protestant opponents secretly invited William to invade England and oust his father-in-law. William’s mighty invasion force landed in Devon in November 1688. Many Englishmen supported William and, after some prominent English nobles defected to the invader, James II chose not to fight. He was subsequently captured and then allowed to escape to exile in France.

Early in 1689, the English Parliament formally offered William and Mary the throne as joint monarchs. The new monarchs could not rule with the same power as previous monarchs enjoyed. They accepted Parliament’s ‘Declaration of Rights’ (later called ‘Bill of Rights) which restricted the king’s power and marked an important transition towards the system of parliamentary rule that exists to this day. Later that year James landed in Ireland with French troops supplied by William of Orange’s sworn enemy, Louis XIV. In response William raised a huge invasion force, the largest Ireland had ever seen, and he decisively defeated James at the Battle of the Boyne. In Europe, William was successful in his lifelong struggle to contain the military ambitions of Louis XIV, the Catholic king of France. In part to help finance his wars with Louis, William founded the Bank of England.

Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723) was born in Germany but trained in Amsterdam and studied in Italy before moving to England in 1676. Towards the end of the century, after the deaths of Peter Lely and John Riley, Kneller became the leading portrait painter in Britain and the court painter to English and British monarchs from Charles II to George I. He dominated English art for more than thirty years. His over 40 "Kit-cat portraits" and the ten "beauties" of the court of William III are most noteworthy.

Dublin Castle was first founded as a major defensive work by Meiler Fitzhenry on the orders of King John of England in 1204, some time after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, when it was commanded that a castle be built with strong walls and good ditches for the defence of the city, the administration of justice, and the protection of the King's treasure. Largely complete by 1230, the castle was of typical Norman courtyard design, with a central square without a keep, bounded on all sides by tall defensive walls and protected at each corner by a circular tower.

Santry Court, Santry, County Dublin was a very important early 18th century mansion of red brick with stone facings, built in 1703 by the 3rd Lord Barry of Santry. Following the death of Henry, 4th Baron Barry of Santry, the Domvile family inherited the Santry estate. Santry Court and nearly 5,000 acres of land remained in the Domvile family’s hands for almost 200 years (1751-1935).
Very good
Dublin Castle
Domville family, Santry Court, Dublin
Sale, Lawson and Broughton auctioneers, Sydney, 1888, where purchased by H.E. Lord Carrington (Governor New South Wales)
External Height 168.00 cm (66.14 inches)
External Width 137.00 cm (53.94 inches)
External Depth 7.00 cm (2.76 inches)
Oil on canvas
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