(b. 1660, Osnabrück, d. 1711, London)


German painter, active in England. John Closterman and John Baptist Closterman were, until the publication of the former's will in 1964, thought to be the same artist. It is now clear that 'John Closterman of Covent Garden Limner' was the elder of two artist brothers and much the more accomplished painter. According to George Vertue, he was trained by his father in Osnabrück and at the age of 19 travelled to Paris. He worked for two years in the studio of François de Troy, who ran a fashionable portrait practice. Later he established himself in London in partnership with John Riley, acting as his drapery painter in 1681-83. Through Riley he was introduced to a potential clientele for his own independent practice, which he appears to have set up in the mid-1680s. He is thought to have finished a number of Riley's portraits after his death, although Vertue recorded that the partnership had been discontinued owing to financial differences.

He settled and married in London. His portraits include those of Queen Anne in her coronation robes, the duke and duchess of Marlborough (a family group, c. 1698), the duke of Rutland, John Dryden, and Henry Purcell. In 1696 he visited Spain, where he executed portraits of King Charles II and his mother, Queen Maria Anna.

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