Portrait of Isaac Watts
17th - 18th Century
Oil on canvas, unglazed Inscr. TL 'Isaac Watts, D.D. | 1674-1748.' Stamped into reverse of vertical stretcher cross member 'F. Leedham | Liner' Printed label on vertical stretcher cross member '32'. Inscr. black chalk on gummed paper framing tape, illegible.
Frame: Ebonised wood with two flat gilded inner slip frames
Overall dimensions: 940 x 820 x 40 mm Painting dimensions: 755 x 640 mm
Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Congregational minister, poet, hymn writer and author of educational manuals, including 'Logic' 1725. 'Grey eyebrows; dark grey eyes, grey wig parted in the centre; white bands and a green silk (?) gown with russet lining, or just possibly hood band; plain brown background; dark brown painted oval, strongly lit from the left'. National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print). The first rendering in engraved form seems to date from 1780 attributed by Scharf to be by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723). NPG suggests that, although it shows it was influence by him on grounds of the costume, the picture seems late to have been painted in his lifetime. There is divided opinion on the artist and school associated with this painting. Sotheby's suggest the English School, circa 1700. Presented to Dr Williams's Library by Thomas Streatfield and John Harrison, executors of Lady Elizabeth Abney, last surviving daughter of Sir Thomas Abney, July 1783. It is said to have been painted for Sir Thomas Abney, Lord Mayor of London, and an enthusiastic nonconformist, in whose house Watts spent the last thirty years of his life. This is one of three known examples, the NPG is perhaps an early copy of the portrait in Dr Williams' Library. See Portrait at NPG 264