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Samuel Pepys was a diarist and administrator of the Navy. In 1660, he began his service under the patronage of Lord Sandwich, his cousin. He was initially Clerk of the Acts, and from 1686 to 1688 was Secretary to the Admiralty, where he created a modern state department out of an archaic office. He left the Admiralty in February 1689, when his patron, James II, was forced to flee the country in 1688, and William and Mary came to the throne. Thus, the portrait above was painted by Kneller during a turbulent year for Pepys, and is inscribed and dated on the back 'Mr Pepes G. Kneller fecit 1689'. It is one of a pair, painted for him, the other being of his former secretary and faithful friend William Hewer (BHC2765), with whom he lived in retirement at Clapham until his death.
National Maritime Museum
Samuel Pepys (1633–1703)
oil on canvas
H 76 x W 63.5 cm