Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Lady 1670c.

Studio of Sir Peter Lely (1618-80)

Portrait of a Lady, Studio of Sir Peter Lely
Oil on canvas
17th Century
30 x 24½ inches 76.2 x 62.7 cm
Collection of Lord Burgh, Northcourt, Isle of Wight. By whom sold, London 1938.
To view portraits by Peter Lely for sale, please go to www.philipmould.com.

Sir Peter Lely’s character and talent dominated the art world of the second half of the seventeenth century in England. Though Pepys famously described him as ‘a mighty proud man and full of state’, Lely’s skill for portraiture meant he assumed the mantle of Sir Anthony van Dyck with ease. Despite sharing the stage with many accomplished painters, the particular brio of his technique and his considerable personal charm guaranteed him the most prestigious patronage. Everyone of consequence in his age sat to him, and it is in his portraits that we form our conception of the cautious solemnity of the 1650s and the scandalous excesses of the years following the Restoration. His portrait of Anna Maria depicts not only one of the 17th century’s most infamous characters, but a symbol of Stuart exuberance - and one extreme of a generation’s reaction against the puritanical excesses of Cromwellian England.
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