• Old Masters & 19th Century Art auction at Christies

    Sale 5859

    Old Masters & 19th Century Art

    28 October 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 39

    Circle of Sir Peter Lely (Soest 1618-1680 London)

    Portrait of Barbara Villiers (1641-1709), Countess of Castlemaine, later Duchess of Cleveland, three-quarter-length, in a blue dress with ermine trim, by an urn

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Circle of Sir Peter Lely (Soest 1618-1680 London)
    Portrait of Barbara Villiers (1641-1709), Countess of Castlemaine, later Duchess of Cleveland, three-quarter-length, in a blue dress with ermine trim, by an urn
    oil on canvas
    67¼ x 46 in. (170.8 x 116.8 cm.)


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    The present picture relates to a known portrait type of the sitter by an artist working in Lely's studio (in a Private Collection, U.S.), perhaps after a lost original by Lely himself. The head is based on that in Lely's portrait of the sitter now in the Swindon Art Gallery.
    According to Sir Peter Lely it was 'beyond the compass of art' to give Barbara Villiers 'her due, as to her sweetness and exquisite beauty'. She was among the women most often painted by the artist, acting as his muse during the 1660s, the period of her greatest dominance at court as the mistress of King Charles II.

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