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Richard Boyle Earl of Burlington &c.

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    1734 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Faber, John the younger (engraver)
    Kneller, Godfrey Bt (Sir), born 1646 - died 1723 (artist)
    Tonson, Jacob I, born 1655 - died 1736 (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mezzotint on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case WW

Object Type
This type of print is known as a mezzotint. The printmaker made it by roughening up the surface of a metal printing plate and then selectively smoothing down areas to produce the highlights. He left roughest the areas he wanted to print darkest, and completely smoothed flat the areas he wished to print as white highlights.

Kit-Cat Club
The Kit-Cat club was a sociable and prestigious gathering of the nobility and gentleman that supported the Whig party. (The Whigs were firmly pro-Hanoverian - the party of the government, the court and the establishment.) The Kit-Cat club was named after mutton pies called 'kit-cats' served at a tavern kept by a Mr Christopher Cat. The club met here to dine and drink toasts.

Members fell into the custom of presenting Jacob Tonson, the club's secretary, with their portraits. Godfrey Kneller painted about 40 of these in the first two decades of the 18th century. As in this print, the sitters were usually shown half length, from the waist up, with one hand in view.

This print was one of a set of 27 mezzotints of members of the Kit-Cat Club made by John Faber Junior. He and Jacob Tonson published them as a set, with a title-page and a dedication, in 1735. Tonson sold them from his premises in the Strand, and Faber from his in Bloomsbury Square. Some, such as this one, had already appeared singly in the previous year.

Physical description

Half-length portrait, to left, looking to front with right hand on hip. The sitter is wearing a sash, long wig and the star of the Order of the Garter.

Place of Origin

London (published)


1734 (published)


Faber, John the younger (engraver)
Kneller, Godfrey Bt (Sir), born 1646 - died 1723 (artist)
Tonson, Jacob I, born 1655 - died 1736 (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Mezzotint on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'G. Kneller Bar. pinxt 1716. J. Faber Fecit. 1734. Richard Boyle Earl of Burlington &c. / Between 15 & 16.'


Height: 36.5 cm sheet, Width: 26.5 cm sheet

Descriptive line

Portrait, half-length, of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Mezzotint by John Faber, after Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1734.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Lord Burlington (1694-1753) was the chief promoter of Palladianism. From 1717 he was an influential amateur architect and was considered an arbiter of taste. He advised noblemen, city corporations and government and spread the style through publications. [27/03/2003]





Subjects depicted

Architect; Earl; Star; Wig; Sash; Collector


Prints; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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