Mystery of Portrait Donor Solved

May 7 2020

Image of Mystery of Portrait Donor Solved

Picture: The Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Godfrey Kneller's portrait of the poet and diplomat Matthew Prior (1664-1721) was one of the highlights of the recent Tate exhibition British Baroque: Power and Illusion. Few painters could capture the confidence and haughtiness of their sitters like Kneller could.

The painting's lender, Trinity College Cambridge, have published a blog about the recent discovery of the painting's donor. The work was presented to the college in 1908 under the strict conditions that the donor should remain anonymous and that the portrait should be hung "anywhere except in the hall".

It transpires that the canvas was a gift from artist and benefactor Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919). The identity of the donor was recently unearthed in a handwritten letter by M.R. James, the then Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum and famous writer of ghost stories.

A high-resolution image of the painting, superb painterly flourishes and all, can be found here.


Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.