Tory Historian is back

Posted by Tory Historian Thursday, December 11, 2008

And with another report from that wonderful institution, the National Portrait Gallery. TH’s interest was caught by the room that had some of the portraits, painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, of the Kit-Cat Club, admittedly a Whig institution. The name is particularly attractive as, in Tory Historian’s opinion, Kit is preferable to Chris as the shortened form and the Club’s name comes from the name Christopher Catling (Kit Catling) the owner of the pie house near Temple Bar where the Club originally met.

Kneller’s portraits are 36 by 24 ins, known as the standard “kit-cat” format.

Among the Club members were Sir Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele, authors of the original Spectator and Tatler essays. In 1712 Steele wrote in the Spectator:

Face-painting is no where so well performed as in England.
One cannot but agree as one surveys the astonishing array of portrait painters this country (and despite that Whiggish comment it includes Scotland) has either produced or attracted. Sir Godfrey Kneller was, of course, one of the latter.

Tory Historian is pondering a series of postings about portraits and their importance in English and Scottish history and art history.


  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. "Kit is preferable to Chris"

    I agree entirely. ;)

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. There is an interesting sounding exhibition called 'Portrait: Drawings, Miniatures and Pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence' at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery until 1st February and then at the British Museum.

  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. That should be 'The Intimate Portrait: Drawings, Miniatures and Pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence'.

  7. Fear not, Tory Historian will report back. :)

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