Kneller’s backgrounds

Allen Bathurst, 1st Earl Bathurst, by Godfrey Kneller

A member has sent in the following query regarding Kneller’s backgrounds, looking for thoughts and comments:

I am seeking to understand Kneller’s use of backgrounds in his portraits: were they realistic, symbolic or pure imagination? I am asking in reference to this portrait of the Earl Bathurst, then the Lord Bathurst.

I’m researching Chichester Park, his country seat, for a seminar and paper. I have a theory about the temple shown in the background but my research on Kneller has not yielded any explanations as to his intentions for the background…

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