Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of John Locke, c.1700 

Studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt (1646-1723)

Portrait of John Locke, c.1700, Studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt
Oil on canvas
18th Century
30 x 25 inches 76.2 x 63.5 cm
Sir Jasper More, Bishops Castle, Shropshire
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Described by J S Mill as the unquestioned founder of the analytical philosophy of mind, John Locke's influence and authority as philosopher was unrivaled in England during his lifetime and well into the first half of the eighteenth century.

Locke was born in Somerset and educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford, where he attained his Masters Degree in 1658. He lectured in Greek and Rhetoric. His main patron was the first Earl of Shaftsbury whose resident physician and friend he became in 1667. After Shaftsbury's imprisonment and subsequent flight to Holland, Locke came under suspicion of collusion and followed Shaftsbury in 1684.

One again in favour with the monarchy of William III, Locke returned to England in 1688 and was immediately appointed Commissioner of Appeals and a Member of the Council of Trade. In 1690, the publication of his ''Essays on the Human Understanding'' confirmed him as the leading philosopher of his day. His ''Two Treaties of Government1 also published in 1690, supplied the Whigs with most of their political philosophy for the next century, and his ''Reasonableness of Christianity'' of 1695 influenced theologists well into the nineteenth century.
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