Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Lady, of the Rogers Family of Blachford Devon 1640s

Sir Peter Lely (1618-80)

Portrait of a Lady, of the Rogers Family of Blachford Devon, Sir Peter Lely
Oil on canvas
17th Century
45 x 35 inches 114.3 x 88.9 cm
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This portrait, which is datable to c. 1646-50, is amongst the finest of the early work that Lely painted in England.

Born in Soest, Westphalia in 1618, the precise date of his arrival in England has not yet been firmly established. However, it was most probably in or around 1641, at the time of the marriage of Prince William II of Orange to the eldest daughter of Charles I.
After initially painting subject-pictures comprising of landscapes with small figures, he soon established a portrait-painting practice. His work at this date shows an increasing awareness of portraits by Van Dyck and this is evident in the present portrait in the pose of the figure and the sureness of colour and design. His portraits of the 1640s are further characterised by their richly atmospheric landscapes, reminiscent of the Dutch Italianate landscape painters that he had encountered in Holland. The stormy clouds with their pink highlights in this are closely comparable with those in the double portrait of Charles I with James, Duke of York of 1647 (Duke of Northumberland, Syon House). Other qualities such as the contrasts between the lights and darks, the strong draughtsmanship, and the rich texture of the paint can be seen as precursors of Lely''s mature Baroque style.
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