Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Lady 1690s

Thomas Murray 

Portrait of a Lady, Thomas Murray
Oil on canvas
17th Century
30 x 25 in 76 x 63.5 cm
Thomas Murray is an accomplished painter of Scottish origins whose career spanned a similar period to that of his slightly older contemporary, Sir Godfrey Kneller. Although Kneller's influence is apparent in his later works-unremarkably given the stamp that his talent had on his age- his portrait style is individual and his talent is easily recognised. His initial influences came from the studio of Riley, who was his master, and from his fellow pupil, Closterman. This latter influence is especially apparent in his portraits of women, which have a softness and smoothness that Kneller's, for example, do not.

The Rev, James Dalloway remarks that Murray was ''remarkable for his personal beauty and the elegance of his manners, was much patronised by the nobility and died rich.''1Murray also enjoyed an extensive practice among the clergy and gentry, and among the emigré Scots in London. When he died June 1st 1735 he was reported to be worth 40,000l. He left money to a nephew for the erection of monument in Westminster Abbey, conditional upon the expense not being too great; the nephew decided that it was and retained the money.

1. Horace Walpole Anecdotes of Painting in England with some account of the principal artists with additions by the Rev James Dallaway. London 1876 vol.ii p246n.
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