Sunday, July 27, 2014

Charles Jervas

Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
oil on canvas
135.5 x 156.0 cm
other detail unknown

Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (1660-1744) rose to be one of the most influential women of her time through her close friendship with Queen Anne of Great Britain. Her friendship and influence with Princess Anne was widely known, and leading public figures often turned their attentions to her in the hope that she would influence Anne to comply with requests. As a result, by the time Anne became queen, her knowledge of government, and intimacy with the Queen, had made her a powerful friend and a dangerous enemy.

Charles Jervas (c.1675-1739) was an Irish portrait painter, translator, and art collector of the early 18th century. Born in Ireland, he studied in London, England as an assistant under Sir Godfrey Kneller between 1694 and 1695. In 1723 he succeeded Kneller as Portrait Painter to George I and in 1725 to George II. Kneller died that year, having a poor opinion of Jervas's talent: "Ah! Mein Gott, if his horses draw no better than he does he will never get to his journey’s end."
His home became a centre for literary figures, among them Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift, whose portraits he painted, too.