Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Boy of the Winnington Family 1690c.

Michael Dahl (1659-1743)

Portrait of a Boy of the Winnington Family, Michael Dahl
Oil on canvas
17th Century
30 x 25 inches 76.2 x 63.5 cm
Sir Francis Winnington Bt.
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The portraits of Michael Dahl are frequently distinguished by a harder and more rigorous attention to the character of the sitter than those of his rival, Sir Godfrey Kneller. In his child portraits, however, Dahl allowed a softer and more elegiac aspect to surface. The colours are silvered and luminous and there is a great charm and sensitivity in the expression. This portrait bears close comparison with the treatment of child sitters in, for example, the contemporary portraits by Dahl of Greville and George Verney.

Judging from the age of the sitter and from the provenance of the painting, this portrait most probably depicts one of the sons of Salwey Winnington MP of Worcestershire. Salwey Winnington had two sons by his wife Anne Foley of Witley Court in Worcestershire. Only one son survived, Thomas (1696-1746), who followed earlier family members (his grandfather, Sir Francis Winnington and both of his uncles had also represented Worcestershire seats) by becoming a member of Parliament, representing Droitwich and Worcester between 1741 and 1746.

The Winnington family are recorded to have patronised Dahl around 1700, when Salwey''s brother Edward Winnington-Jeffryes was depicted in a portrait now known only from a rare engraving by J. Sympson.
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