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Born in Germany, Kneller trained in Amsterdam with Ferdinand Bol and, probably, Rembrandt. He settled permanently in England in 1676, becoming the leading portrait painter of his day.
This rare example of a narrative painting by Kneller was done before he arrived in this country, and is very Dutch in manner and subject. He valued it enough to bring it to Britain and display it at his house at Whitton, Middlesex.
It depicts the Old Testament prophet Elijah who fled into the wilderness to escape the vengeance of Queen Jezebel. Hungry, he fell asleep under a juniper tree. He was woken by an angel who showed him the loaf of bread and vessel of water miraculously sent by God to save him from starvation.

August 2004