Thomas Papillon

Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas Papillon was born in London to Huguenot parents, Protestants who had fled from the Continent to escape religious hatred. After the Restoration had a successful career in the City, holding numerous civic posts and serving as a Member of Parliament; his Protestant religion informed his politics throughout.
This informal portrait shows Papillon in a casual silk gown and without a wig, focussing on his character rather than his public achievements. His relaxed pose, the head turned to the viewer and one hand raised to the chest, was made popular by Kneller.

National Portrait Gallery, London



Thomas Papillon




oil on canvas


H 75.9 x W 62.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased, 1978. On long-term loan to Beningbrough Hall, Yorkshire

Work type



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National Portrait Gallery, London

St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London WC2H 0HE England

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