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Studio of Sir Peter Lely (Westphalia 1618-1680 London)
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Studio of Sir Peter Lely (Westphalia 1618-1680 London)

Portrait of Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine, 1st Duchess of Cleveland (1640-1709), full-length, in a silver silk dress and green mantle

Details
Studio of Sir Peter Lely (Westphalia 1618-1680 London)
Portrait of Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine, 1st Duchess of Cleveland (1640-1709), full-length, in a silver silk dress and green mantle
oil on canvas
82½ x 52¾ in. (209.6 x 134 cm.)
Provenance
Lady Duveen; Christie's, London, 31 July 1947, lot 114, as 'Vandyck' (6 gns. to Bode[?]).
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Lot Essay

Rumoured to have shared King Charles II's bed on the night of his coronation, Barbara Villiers bore the king at least six children, wielded significant influence in the first decade of his reign, and was created Duchess of Cleveland in 1670. Lely, who effectively acted as her principal promoter, is said to have remarked 'that it was beyond the compass of art to give this lady her due, as to her sweetness and exquisite beauty'.

The present picture appears to be one of three versions of the composition; the others being in a private British collection (believed by Sir Ellis Waterhouse and John Kerslake to be autograph), and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (described as 'Workshop').

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