PORTRAIT OF JOHN NORRIS OF WITTON HALL NORFOLK - BY DOMINCUS VAN DER SMISSEN.
Portrait of John Norris, 18th century oil on canvas in its original antique carved and gilded frame.
Dominicus van der Smissen (1704-1760)
Born at Altona, Germany on 28 April 1704, Dominicus was the son of Hinrich van der Smitten, he was also a pupil of Balthasar Denner, whose sister Catharina he married in 1730. As a rule van der Smissen closely followed Denner's style, although he portrays forms of the body in greater detail.
Dominicus was active as an artist at Dresden, Braunschweig, Amsterdam, and London, in addition to Hamburg-Altona. He died in 1760 and his landscapes, portraits, and still lifes, have become very scarce. The Kunsthalle of Hamburg possesses a considerable number of his works, including a Self Portrait. Little else is known about his life and Dominicus died on 6 January 1760.
John Norris (1734–1777)
The founder of Divinity Professorship at Cambridge was
educated at Eton and at Caius College, Cambridge. On leaving university he settled in Norfolk finally coming to live at Witton, where in 1770 he began to build Witton House and to lay out its grounds. Norris married first, in 1758, Elizabeth, only daughter of John Playters of Yelverton. She died 1 Dec. 1769, leaving one son, who died in infancy, he then married Charlotte, fourth daughter of Edward Townshend, D.D., dean of Norwich, and by her had one daughter, Charlotte Laura, who married, 17 Nov. 1796, Colonel John Wodehouse, afterwards second baron Wodehouse.
Norris died of fever on 5 Jan. 1777 at his house in Upper Brook Street, London. By his will, dated 26 June 1770, Norris charged the Abbey Farm, in the parish of Bacton, Norfolk, with an annuity of 120l. for the foundation of a professorship of divinity at Cambridge, and of an annual prize of 12l. in money and books for an essay on a sacred subject, and also for providing a sermon at Great St. Mary's every Good Friday. The 105l. annually assigned to the professorship has since been augmented from other sources, and the prize is (by statute of 6 April 1858) now awarded every five years.
John Norris (1734-1777) Witton, Norfolk. Founder of Divinity Professorship at Cambridge. Ob 1777. Identified from an etching from 'Norfolk Portraits' published by C. Muskett, Norwich 1841-1845.
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Internal Ref: 00007
Canvas : 50" x 38" / 127cm x 96.52cm.
Frame: 58" x 45" / 114.3cm x cm.