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The Beauties, done from the Original Pictures in his Majties Pallace of Hampton Court, by Sr. Godfrey Kneller, Bart. late Principall Painter to His Majtie.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



[London:]: Sold by J. Cooper in the Great Piazza Covent Garden., [1727]

Physical Description

T.pl., [12] pl.; 512 mm.

Responsibility Note

The title plate is signed as drawn by J. Vanderbank and engraved by J. Faber, and carries the imprint of J. Cooper as print-seller. It incorporates a self-portrait signed as painted by G. Kneller.

The plates are all signed as painted by G. Kneller, engraved by J. Faber and printed by J. Cooper.


J.D. Stewart, Sir Godfrey Kneller and the English baroque portrait (1983).

J.C. Smith, British mezzotinto portraits (4 v. in 5, 1878-84).

Summary Note

No publication-date is given on the title plate. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that the work was published in 1727.

The paintings of court 'beauties' had been commissioned from Godfrey Kneller by Queen Mary in 1689 (in emulation of the series made by Lely for her mother). After studying in Amsterdam under Rembrandt and Bol and in Rome under Bernini and Maratta, Kneller had come to Britain in 1676 to see Van Dyck's work, and had soon become the country's leading portrait-painter. In 1692 he was knighted; and in 1711 he set up the first Academy of art in Britain.

During his lifetime Kneller took great interest in engravings after his work. The present set were made after his death, and were among John Faber's most celebrated mezzotints. After Faber's death the plates were acquired by John Boydell.

The plates are captioned, and show: [1] 'Serenissima Maria D.G. Angl: Scot: Fran: et Hib: Regina'; [2] 'The Rt. Honble: the Countess of Essex'; [3] 'The Honble. Lady Midelton'; [4] 'The Right Honble. the Countess of Clarendon'; [5] 'Her Grace the Dutchess of St. Albans'; [6] 'Her Grace the Dutchess of Grafton'; [7] The Rt. Honble. the Countess of Peterborough'; [8] 'The RtHonble: the Countess of Ranelagh'; [9] 'Her Grace the Dutchess of Manchester'; [10] 'The Rt. Honble: the Countess of Dorset'; [11] 'Her Grace the Dutchess of Marlborough'; [12] 'Mrs. Scroop'.


The front pastedown is inscribed in pencil, 'CLE', i.e. Charles Lock Eastlake, librarian of the Royal Academy 1842-4 and President 1850-65.

Copy Note

The front pastedown carries a blue paper label inscribed in ink, 'For an account of the contents of this volume, see, Dalloway's Walpole Nagler's Künstler-Lexicon Huber's Manuel (vol. 9).'

Binding Note

19th-century half calf, green cloth-covered boards; black morocco spine-labels lettered 'Beauties of Sir P. Lely. And Of Sir G. Kneller.', spine lettered 'R A'. Bound with a set of six numbered plates engraved by T. Watson after Lely, and 2 unnumbered plates engraved by J. McArdell after Lely.

Name as Subject


Celebrities - Women - Great Britain - History - 17th century
Paintings - Portraits - Great Britain - 17th century
Pictorial works - Mezzotints - Great Britain - 18th century


Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt., source artist
John Vanderbank, draughtsman
John Faber the younger, engraver
John Cooper, intaglio printer, printseller