Completed Dress and Textiles, London: Artists and Subjects, Portraits: British 16th and 17th C, Portraits: British 18th C, South East England: Artists and Subjects 14 Is this Sir Edward Ward (1638–1714) or another judge? Who is the artist?

Topic: Subject or sitter

Based on the attached files, do you have any suggestions for the queries below?

Does the painting in the Town Hall depict Sir Edward Ward or another Judge?

There is a discrepancy in the dates, so is the artist Thomas Hudson, or another artist with the same surname?

Is the source of the attribution for the artist known?

Could the portrait be a copy based on the engraving ‘Sir Edward Ward’ after Kneller by Robert White [NPG D37482] c.1702? This sitter has a fuller face:

The reversed image of the Kneller portrait gives greater similarity [see attachment].

Why is the painting in the Town Hall? Could it be because Sir Edward Ward was Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer (1695–1714), when William III granted the Town Charter to Deal in 1699?

Pat Smith, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. Previously attributed to ‘Hudson’, this work has been identified as a copy after a head-and-shoulders engraving in reverse by Robert White after part of a 1702 signed portrait of Ward by Sir Godfrey Kneller. The title has been updated from ‘Lord Chief Justice Ward, Mayor’ to ‘Sir Edward Ward (1638–1714)’ and the sequence of images has been explained in a note. It has been dated 1702 or later.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Deal Town Council has sent these images of the back of the painting and comments:

‘Can anyone confirm that this portrait does depict Lord Chief Justice Ward or if not, name the subject and identify the attributed artist please? There is a plaque attached to the frame “Lord Chief Justice Ward”, but no signature of the artist.

2 attachments
Andy Mabbett,

Hmmm, the forum software is breaking Wikipedia links with parentheses; try this:

BTW, by "two pictures", I mean the painting at hand, and the NPG engraving.

The similarities between this portrait and the engraving are striking, note the shape of the eyebrow for example. It is true that the face in the engraving bears little similarity to the 3/4 length portrait by Kneller (see, the original may be in Harvard Law School) but this is not unusual as it may be based on a different portrait or on an intermediary version. I think the similarity to the engraving alone justifies an identification to Sir Edward Ward, and the attribution to 'after Godfrey Kneller'.
The connection to Deal (of ay) remains to be discivered.)

Cherry Ann Knott,

Surely the same sitter - the kinky left eyebrow would be hard to invent if not depicted in the original! Detail is close to the engraving; looks as if it is a later copy from the engraving; is the original Kneller extant?

Jacinto Regalado,

It is a relatively crude copy, not even "studio of" Kneller, and possibly quite late. It is evidently after the print, since the image is also inverted, and the serpiginous eyebrow is also from the print, not the painted versions.

Jacinto Regalado,

In addition, the use of the feigned oval framing device comes from the print, not Kneller's original, which was a 3/4 length portrait.

Rbt Brown,

It states in Wikipedia that the engraver Robert White copied portraits painted by Lely, Kneller, Riley, and Beale. his engraving is date 1702 it appears, on Wikipedia. A Problem might be that the sitter is over 42 yrs old, which would eliminate either Lely or Kneller as the painter, as both died in 1680.

Jacinto Regalado,

Lely died in 1680, but Kneller died in 1723. The original picture was probably painted in the 1690s.

Jacinto Regalado,

There are, however, a distressing number of pictures spuriously associated with Lely on Art UK which clearly look like c. 1700 (if not later), but I suppose it helps to sell the merchandise.

Chris Hunt,

The oiginial signed Sir Godfrey Knellor painting of Sir Edward Ward was sold at Bonhams Lot 60 14 04 2021. The painting hung in our family home Boreatton Park until 1980 when it was sold and has recently come back to the market. the stickers on the back of the portrait prove provenance.
The Deal picture is definitely a copy of the print as it follows the subtle differences of the oval print rather then the picture where the chain of office is goes over the whole of the robes .
I am unsure of his connections with Deal, but his Father in Law Thomas Papillon was MP for Dover 1673 81 and 1689-95.

Marcie Doran,

This portrait was reportedly hanging on the wall of the Guildhall in Deal in 1846.

Recall that, as Robert pointed out (31/03/2020 23:16), the engraving is dated 1702 (see the introduction). According to the Bonham's website, lot 60 of the auction of 15 April 2021 (Chris 20/04/2021 09:07) was "signed and dated 'Kneller. Eques. fecit/1702' (centre left)".

Portraits of Sir Edward Ward and his wife by Kneller are mentioned in Sir Edward Ward's will (PROB 11/541/224).

A portrait of Sir Edward Ward (not this one) was at Lafayette College (Easton, PA) in 1881. There was no response to my query seeking information about it.

Here's an interesting letter from Kneller to Ward at the National Archives (SP 32/6/19) that is dated c. 1693-1694.

Jacob Simon,

This discussion asks of a portrait belonging to Deal Town Council, “Is this Sir Edward Ward (1638–1714) or another judge? Who is the artist?” The discussion attracted 10 comments in the first two days in 2020. And then an interesting contribution from Chris Hunt (20/04/2021) about a larger version by Kneller which once hung in his family home. And, thanks to Marcie Doran (27/08/2023), evidence that Ward knew Kneller and mentioned his portrait in his will

We can trace a probable sequence:

1) A three-quarter length oil painting by Godfrey Kneller, dated 1702, reproduced in Chris Hunt’s attachment. It was presumably painted for Ward himself.

2) A head-and-shoulders engraving in reverse by Robert White after part of Godfrey Kneller's portrait, 1702 (example, National Portrait Gallery, link given by Pat Smith, 31 March 2020).

3) Our head-and-shoulders painting, in the same direction as the engraving and very likely copied from it. The nature of a copy is such that it is rarely possible to identify the copyist. Evidence for the current attribution to “Hudson” is not available. Certainly not Thomas Hudson. Perhaps the painting was made for presentation to Deal Town Council. Though the precise connection of Ward to Deal remains elusive, we are told that his father-in-law, Thomas Papillon was MP for Dover, 1673-81 and 1689-95 (Chris Hunt, 20/04/2021).

CONCLUSION: I recommend that this discussion should be closed with the title amended to “Sir Edward Ward (1638–1714)” and the artist to “Copy after Robert White after Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)” The description of the artist may need to be formatted to fit ArtUK’s requirements. It may be necessary to refer to the engraving in a note which could also mention the former attribution to “Hudson”. If a date is allocated to the portrait, it could be “1702 or later”.