PORTRAIT OF SIR EDWARD WARD, CHIEF BARON 1638-1714 SEATED AND WEARING ROBES
SIR GODFREY KNELLER AND STUDIO
Oil on canvas 50 x 40 inches Framed size 57 ½ x 47 ½ inches
Born in Lubeck, Germany in 1646, third son of the portraitist and chief surveyor of the city, Zacharius Kniller and his wife Luci (nee Beuten) Kneller was originally destined for Military career and was sent to Leyden to study mathematics and fortification; however with his father’s blessing he studied art under Ferdinand Bol and Rembrandt in the early 1660’s. His first known portrait was painted in 1666.He visited Rome and Venice during 1672 to 1675. There he studied from the antique and the paintings of Raphael, Carracci, Titian and Tintoretto and worked in the studios of Carlo Maratti and Bernini.Kneller went on to Nuremberg in 1674 and on to Hamburg before settling in London in 1676.By 1679 he was patronized by the King and was sent by Charles to France in 1684/5 to draw the portrait of Louis XIV. Kneller was jointly appointed with Riley the principal painter to William & Mary 1688. On Riley’s death in 1691 he continued alone and retained that office until his death in 1723.He accompanied William lll, his greatest patron to the Low Countries in 1697 commissioning from him a portrait of the Elector of Bavaria, with whom William was seeking an alliance. Kneller’s style changes after this visit and his creamy colours were laid on with more dash and with a lighter, almost Rococo touch.He was knighted in 1692 and made a Baronet in 1715.He had a flourishing studio in London presided over by Edward Byng, producing a great many copies of his commissioned portraits. Kneller created the influential Kit-cat format (36 x 28 inches) showing one hand for his portraits of members of the Kit-cat club (the leaders of the Whig establishment).In 1709 Christopher Wren designed a country house for him, Whitton, near Hounslow, Middlesex.He was the first Governor of the first Academy in London from 1711 to 1718.Kneller dominated portraiture and remained the most distinguished and successful portrait painter in England until his death in London on the 19th October 1723.He was court painting for five reigns. He worked rapidly and his best portraits show considerable sensitivity and understanding of the sitter. He had many pupils and assistants including; Edward & Robert Byng; Joseph Highmore; Jean Baptist Gaspar; Charles Jervas and Jean Baptiste Monnoyer.
Works in Museums & Country Houses around the world including NPG London; VAM; HMQ; Tate; NGI; Yale; NG Canada; SNPG; Hampton Court, Dulwich A.G; Philadelphia Museum of Art; National Maritime Museum and many other Public Collections.
Bibl: Portrait Painters - Brian Stewart & Mervyn Cutten Provenance: By decent from the sitters family.
There are other known versions (mostly of later date) of this painting.There is a version at Harvard Law School, thought to be the primary version (wrongly identified as Sir Godfrey Gilbert) which we have not been able to compare).
SIR EDWARD WARD, CHIEF BARON 1638 -1714 Born in June 1638, he was the second son of William Ward of Preston, Rutland. Edward was educated under Francis Meres at Wing, Rutland and then a student at Clifford's Inn. He was admitted in June 1664 at the Inner Temple and called to the bar in 1670 and obtained a practice in the Exchequer Court. Connected with the Whig faction, Ward appeared as one of the counsel for William Russell, Lord Russell, in July 1683. On 6 November 1684 he was leading counsel for his father-in-law, Thomas Papillon, in the action for false imprisonment brought against him by Sir William Pritchard. The verdict went against his client, but in 1688 Ward was able to settle scores with Pritchard. On 25 November 1684 Ward appeared in the Exchequer Court for Charles Gerard, 1st Earl of Macclesfield, in the action of scandalum magnatum against John Starkey, a juryman of Cheshire, by which county he had recently been presented as a disaffected person. In 1687 Ward became bencher of his Inn, of which he was also Lent reader in 1690 and treasurer in 1693. On 12 April 1689 he was appointed by William III a justice of the common pleas, but was excused, at his own wish, four days later. In July of that year he acted as one of the counsel for Dr. John Elliott, Captain Vaughan and Mr Mould, who were impeached by the Commons for circulating King James's declaration. He was appointed Attorney-general on 30 March 1693 and was knighted at Kensington on 30 October. He was sworn serjeant-at-law on 3 June and on 8 June 1695 was named Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. In the following March he was one of the judges who tried Robert Charnock and his associates for treason. He was one of the judges who in January 1700 declined to give an opinion in the so-called "bankers' case upon the writ of error". In May of the same year he acted as one of the commissioners of the great seal. The most important case over which Ward presided was the trial of Captain William Kidd and his associates for piracy and murder in May 1701.Edward died at his house in Essex Street, The Strand on 14 July 1714 and was buried at Stoke Doyle, Northamptonshire, where he had purchased the Lordship of the Manor in 1694. A portrait was engraved by R. White in 1702 from a painting by Godfrey Kneller. Ward married on 30 March 1676, Elizabeth, third daughter of Thomas Papillon. They had ten surviving children. Two of the sons were eminent lawyers. The eldest, Edward, rebuilt Stoke Doyle church and erected in it a monument to his father. Jane, the eldest daughter, married Thomas Hunt of Boreatton in the parish of Baschurch, Shropshire and was ancestress of the Ward-Hunt family.