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kit-cat


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A canvas measuring 36 × 28 in. (91 × 71 cm). The name derives from Kneller's portraits of the Kit-Cat Club (c.1702–21, NPG, London), all but one of which (there are 42) are of this size. Members of the club, which was founded in the late 17th century and included many of the leading Whigs of the day, met originally at a tavern near Temple Bar in London kept by Christopher (‘Kit’) Cat (or Kat), who served mutton pies known as ‘Kit-cats’. The kit-cat size canvas is particularly suited to life-size portraits showing the sitter's head and shoulders and one or both hands, and Kneller's portraits did much to popularize the format. Previously canvases of 30 × 23 in (76 × 64 cm, bust length) and 50 × 40 in (127 × 102 cm, three-quarter length) had been more or less standard.

Subjects: Art.


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