Portrait of Mary Bagot, Countess of Falmouth and Dorset; after Lely.
By Roy Precious From United Kingdom
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Oil on canvas in early 18th century gilded frame.
This lovely small painting is an early 19th century copy, reduced in size, of the life size original by Sir Peter Lely which is in The Royal Collection. The unknown artist has captured the spirit and style of the Lely original on a small scale...a rare talent.
Lely's portrait forms one of the ‘Windsor Beauties’ series, a set of eleven portraits of celebrated women at the Restoration court painted by him. The series was apparently commissioned or at least assembled by Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, probably around 1662-5. Pepys recorded on 21 August 1668 that he ‘did first see the Duke of York’s room of pictures of some Maids of Honour, done by Lilly: good, but not like.’ By describing the pictures as ‘not like’ Pepys is alluding to the often noted opinion that Lely flattered his subjects, and gave each portrait a similar languorous and ‘sleepy eyed’ air, said to have been influenced by the features of the noted court beauty Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, who was painted many times by Lely.
MARY BAGOT, Countess of Falmouth and Dorset (1645 – 1679) was a British courtier. Her portrait by Lely was erroneously named "Elizabeth, Countess of Falmouth" and also as "Countess of Ossory" in some portrait prints and books in the 18th and 19th centuries, many of which were later reprinted, compounding the error.
Her father was Col. Henry Bagot, and mother was Dorothea Arden, gentry greatly impoverished by supporting Charles I and by Cromwellian fines.
Aged 19 she married Charles Berkeley, 1st Earl of Falmouth in 1663. After only six months he was killed on board 'The Royal Charles' fighting the Dutch at the Battle of Lowestoft.
Mary then married Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset in June 1674, dying in childbirth after five years of marriage.
SIR PETER LELY (1618 - 1680) was the most important portraitist in the reign of Charles ll, although he had painted portraits throughout the Commonwealth. Dutch born as Pieter van der Faes, he became Principal Painter to the King, painting everyone of importance and maintaining a busy and active Studio to help with the huge demand for his portraits.
SIZE: 19.5 x 17 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Buckinghamshire.
We specialise in portraits from the 16th to the early 20th century, we also stock some 17th and 18th century ship paintings, furniture of the 17th and 18th centuries, and other artefacts dating from 200 B.C. to the 20th century.We have sold to many important collections including The Historic Royal Palaces collection and The Yale Center for British Art. Viewing is by appointment, or an arrangement can be made for the item to be brought to your home for inspection.