A Portrait of John, 6th Earl of Exeter when a Boy, by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723).

Oil on canvas, 162.6cm by 124.5cm.

John Cecil (1674-1721) was styled Lord Burghley until his accession to the earldom in 1700, on the death of his father John, 5th Earl (1648-1700).

The earl died just outside Paris as he was returning from his fourth Grand Tour.

The 5th Earl commissioned the portrait of his heir and it is listed in the 1688 Burghley Inventory: ‘Chappell Chamber…..Ld Burghley’s picture over ye chimney in a guilt frame by Kneller.’

The German-born Kneller was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th Centuries.

He was court painter to monarchs from Charles II to George I, who knighted him.


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