Skinner Auctions
Skinner AuctionsMarlborough MA
January 22, 2021 12:00 PMCalender

Sir Godfrey Kneller (British, 1646-1723) Portrait of Meliora Fitch, later Mrs. Portman

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Auction: American & European Works of Art - 3555BLocation: MarlboroughDate / Time: January 22, 2021 12:00PM


Sir Godfrey Kneller (British, 1646-1723)

Portrait of Meliora Fitch, later Mrs. Portman
Signed and dated "G. Kneller f./1715" l.l., pentimento of an inscription reading "M...PORTMAN/HENRY PORTMAN" u.l.
Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 in. (127.0 x 101.6 cm),framed.
Condition: Lined, retouch, small vertical abrasion with pinhole puncture to u.l. quadrant in the background, fine craquelure.

Provenance: Sotheby's New York, British Pictures and Sporting Art, May 27, 2004, Lot 216.

Literature: R. Charlton-Jones, "Lely to Kneller 1650-1723," in Roy C. Strong and Brian Allen, The British Portrait, 1660-1960 (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club, 1991),pp. 112-13, reproduced as Plate 102.

N.B. Meliora Fitch, daughter of John Fitch, Grocer of London and Lower Henbury, married Henry Seymour Portman on July 31, 1714. The groom was 77 years old. Henry Seymour later Portman (c. 1637-1728) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons of England and then Great Britain almost continually between 1679 and 1715.
Estimate $12,000-18,000

Framed dimensions are 57 x 48 x 2 1/2 inches. The presentation plaque on the frame misspells the sitter's first name as "Meloria." Stretcher with a label on the back from Historical Portraits, 30 Bond Street, London.

Some minor canvas rippling to u.l. corner. The restored area that includes a small puncture at the top of a 1/2 inch vertical tear (referenced above in upper left quadrant) presents as a dimple in the canvas located 6 inches down from the top edge and 10 inches in from the left edge. Other retouch includes pale areas of wash along the right side of the sitter's face and on her neck, seemingly to reinforce the shadows. Two areas of retouch in the shadow of her bodice under her right arm. A few dots of retouch in the dress on the left of her bodice, the largest measuring 1/2 inch diameter. Some soft vertical lines of retouch along upper right edge which may have been used to cover a stretcher bar mark in that area. Please see UV condition photos.

Items may have wear and tear, imperfections, or the effects of aging. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Brian Allen, Henry Seymour, John Fitch, N.B. Meliora Fitch, R. Charlton-Jones, Lely, London, Lower Henbury, United Kingdom