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Sir James Thornhill (Dorset 1675-1734)
Sir James Thornhill (Dorset 1675-1734)

Queen Anne Enthroned

Sir James Thornhill (Dorset 1675-1734)
Queen Anne Enthroned
oil on canvas
19¾ x 19¾ in. (50.3 x 50.3 cm.)
William Hare, 2nd Earl of Listowel (1801-1856); Christie's, London, 21 March 1840, lot 13.
Edward Croft-Murray, Decorative Painting in England 1547-1837, 1970, p. 270.

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Lot Essay

Sir James Thornhill was a preeminent figure in late Baroque decorative painting, most renowned for the major commissions he executed for the Royal Naval Hospital (now the Royal Naval College) in Greenwich and for the interior of the dome of St. Paul's in London. Thornhill successfully challenged the dominance of foreign artists and his standing was fully recognised when he was made court painter to George I in 1718 before being knighted in 1720.
The Painted Hall at Greenwich was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor in the late 17th century, and Thornhill was charged with the decorating the interior in 1707; he finally completed the undertaking two decades later in 1727. The present composition was a preliminary bozzetto for the West Wall of the Upper Hall, glorifying Queen Anne and including a portrait of Sir Christopher Wren. Following Queen Anne's death in 1714, however, Thornhill revised the composition so that it represented the new Hanoverian royal family, with George I centre stage. A pen and ink study related to the present lot can be found in the collection of the Huntington Museum in California.

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