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Follower of Michael Dahl

Biography of Artist

Swedish School

Born 29th September, probably 1659 in Stockholm, and died 20th October 1743.

Painted portraits and occasionally painted historical pictures.

He studied in Stockholm under Ehrenstrahl and it would appear that he received a good education. In 1682 he started his travelling; his first port of call was London, where he was in contact with Kneller. From 1684 to 1689 he travelled with Henry Tilson to Paris, Venice and Rome where they stayed a year. During Dahl’s absence, Kneller consolidated his supremacy as the fashionable portrait painter, although the prolific Dahl was his closest competitor. Dahl returned and settled for good in London in 1689. Politically, Kneller supported the ascendant Whigs, while Dahl was a Tory. The death of Kneller in 1723 left Dahl the principal London portraitist.

His 1691 self-portrait showed him as quite a smart young man, by 1700 he was the best patronised portrait painter in London after Kneller, whom he took to some extent as his model, but he has none of Kneller’s brashness and his women’s portraits show greater modesty and refinement. His busy period was during the reign of Queen Anne, but he painted much for the ‘proud’ Duke of Somerset in the 1690s. About 1696, the ‘Pet worth Beauties’ was painted in rivalry with Kneller.