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Original works of art

Peter Lely
(English, 1618 -1680 )

Lely, who was born in Westphalia, became the pre-eminent painter of portraits in England after Van Dyck’s death. While he lacked some of the elder artists’ technical bravura, he was an important transitional figure before the rise of William Hogarth early in the 18th century.

Although he was the son of John Van der Faes, and born in Westphalia, Lely was from an early age in the Hague known by the nickname Lely, named after his house (Lelye) which had a prominent carved lily on its facade. By 1650 Lely had established himself in London and while originally a painter of landscapes, he came to specialize in portraiture. With a combination of innate skill and intuitive timing, Lely positioned himself as the principal portrait painter of the day. He secured the patronage of a group of rich and cultivated noblemen, prominent in court after the English Civil War. In 1661 he was granted an annual pension by Charles II, as his principal portrait painter, and in 1662 he was naturalized as a British subject.


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