admiration for certain portraits by Rubens. The monotony of dress and attitude in Kneller's portraits is due much more to the compulsion of fashion and the imitative tendency in the English character than to the painter himself. His sitters themselves demanded that he should depict them in the one familiar attitude. Posterity has not endorsed the extravagantly high opinion in which Kneller's talents were held by his contemporaries.
Kneller can best be studied at Hampton Court. In his own opinion his finest portrait was the full-length portrait of Francis Couplet, a Chinese convert and jesuit missionary, now in the royal collection at Windsor Castle (engraved in mezzotint by John Faber, jun.) Among the most remarkable of his performances was the series of portraits of forty-eight members, including himself, of the Kit-Cat Club [see Cat, Christopher], painted for Jacob Tonson [q. v.], the publisher, engraved in mezzotint by John Faber, jun., and published as a series in 1735, and now in the possession of Mr. Baker at Bayfordbury in Hertfordshire. Other of his best-known portraits are those of the Countess of Ranelagh at Cassiobury, the full-length of Queen Anne, and the Duchess of Marlborough at Grove Park, Lord-chancellor Cowper at Panshanger, the Grimston portraits at Gorhambury, and Sir Isaac Newton at Kade. He frequently painted his own portrait, and was specially invited by the Grand Duke of Tuscany to contribute his portrait to the gallery of artists' portraits, which still remain in the Uffizi at Florence. One of his own portraits of himself was engraved by T. Beckett in 1685, and another by John Smith in 1694. A portrait of him by David van der Plaes was engraved by P. Schenck. Kneller's drawings, of which there are some fair examples in the print-room at the British Museum, display more effectively his great artistic genius than many of the pictures finished by others and merely begun by him.
Kneller or Kniller, John Zacharias (1644–1702), painter, elder brother of Sir Godfrey Kneller, born at Lübeck on 6 Oct. 1644, accompanied his brother in all his travels on the continent in early life, and settled with him in England. Though he also practised as a portrait-painter, he never attained the same excellence. He is better known as a painter of architecture and ruins, and especially of still life, and in the last-named subject did some meritorious work. He died in London in 1702, and was buried in St. Paul's, Covent Garden. His brother painted a good portrait of him, which has been engraved.
[Vertue's Diaries (Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 23068–78); Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iv. 77, vi. 176, 262, 376, x. 328, 379; Sandrart's Teutsch Akademie, 1675; Houbraken's Grosse Schouburgh, ed. von Wurzbach; W. Ackermann's Der Portraitmaler Sir Godfrey Kniller im Verhältniss zur Kunstbildung seiner Zeit, Lübeck, 1845; Heineken's Nachrichten von Künstlern und Kunstsachen; Chaloner Smith's British Mezzotinto Portraits; De Piles's Lives of the Painters; Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights (Harl. Soc.); Burke's Extinct Baronetage; Hoare's Modern Wiltshire, iv. 31; R. S. Cobbett's Memorials of Twickenham; Miss Bradley's Popular Guide to Westminster Abbey.]
KNEVET. [See also Knyvet and Knevett.]
KNEVET, RALPH (1600–1671), poet, was a native of Norfolk, and seems to have been closely associated as tutor or chaplain with the family of Sir William Paston of Oxnead. He is probably identical with the Ralph Knevet who was rector of Lyng, Norfolk, from 1652 till his death in 1671, at the age of seventy-one. He was buried in the chancel of his church (Blomefield, Norfolk, viii. 251–2).
Knevet published: 1. ‘Stratisticon, or a Discourse of Militarie Discipline,’ 1628, 4to, in verse. 2. ‘Rhodon and Iris, a Pastoral, as it was presented at the Florists' Feast in Norwich, May 3, 1631,’ London, 1631, 4to, dedicated to Nicholas Bacon, esq., of Gillingham, with an address to ‘the Society of Florists,’ and verses by Ri. Pert, Will. Dennye, and John Mingay. The scene is laid in Thessaly, and the metre is very irregular (Brit. Mus.). 3. ‘Funerall Elegies, consecrated to the Immortal Memory of the Right Hon. Lady Katherine Paston, late Wife to the truly Noble and Heroicke William Paston of Oxned, esquire,’ London, 1637, 4to, dedicated to Lady Katherine's sister, Lady Elizabeth Bertie, daughter of Robert, earl of Lindsey. The book is very rare. A copy is in the Grenville Library at the British Museum.
Among unpublished papers, now in the British Museum, of Sir William Paston and other members of the family, is a collection of sacred poems by Knevet, entitled ‘A Gallery to the Temple. Lyricall Poemes upon sacred occasions, by Ra. Kneuett’ (Addit. MS. 27447, ff. 11–67). The verse is imitated from George Herbert, and the collection is intended to form a supplement to Herbert's ‘Temple.’ Some of the poems are worth printing.
[Knevet's Works; W. C. Hazlitt's Bibliographical Handbook.]