An Unknown Woman and Child, possibly Lady Rachel Russell, Duchess of Devonshire (1674-1725) and William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire (1698-1755)
Sir Godfrey Kneller (Lübeck 1646/9 - London 1723)
Art / Oil paintings
1701 (signed and dated)
Oil on canvas
1213 x 991 mm (47 3/4 x 39 in)
Place of origin
EnglandOrder this image
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire (Accredited Museum)
On show at
This portrait was at one time said to represent Queen Anne and the Duke of Gloucester, and indeed an old inscription (Queen Anne and ...) has been painted out. The absence of any regal attributes makes it difficult to accept this identification. The true Kneller of Queen Anne and the Duke of Gloucester, painted c.1694, is at Althorp, and of a very different composition. Of the many autograph portraits by Kneller, only those of Queen Anne and Kneller’s mistress, Mrs Voss show a mother and child in an intimate pose. Kneller only had one child by Mrs Voss, but it is clear that they are not depicted here. It seems possible, that this should be Rachel Russell, Duchess of Devonshire, as an older, more rounded and maternal figure, with her eldest son William, the future 3rd Duke of Devonshire, born in 1698.
Oil painting on canvas, An Unknown Woman and Child, possibly Lady Rachel Russell, Duchess of Devonshire (1674-1725) and William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire (1698-1755) by Sir Godfrey Kneller (Lübeck 1646/9 - London 1723), signed, bottom left in black: G. Kneller. Eques / Fecit 1701. Portraits of a woman three-quarter-length and child, full-length, seated, The woman is seated to the left and has her head turned to the right, wearing a yellow dress; the child seated on her lap is in in a white dress and blue cloak, holding flowers, in its right hand.
In Swift 1811 inventory and thence by descent until, following the death of Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire (1895 - 1950), Hardwick Hall and its contents were accepted by HM Treasury in part payment of death duties and transferred to the National Trust, in 1959
Hardwick Hall, The Devonshire Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
Sir Godfrey Kneller (Lübeck 1646/9 - London 1723), artist