Late 17th century portrait of Viscountess Townshend of Raynham Hall, Norfolk as a young woman. She is seated almost whole length to the right on a bank, eyes to front, wearing a loose dress and robe. This large scale, finely rendered and highly decorative, oil on canvas is from the circle of Peter Lely (1618-1680) Another version of this painting is in the ownership of The National Trust at Felbrigg Hall and the location of the original signature work from Raynham Hall remains a mystery.

Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680)                                                           Portrait artist to Charles I, Peter Lely was Dutch, and arrived in England in 1641 at around the same time that the eminent Dutch British court painter, Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) died. Van Dyck had developed, and made popular, a type of portraiture in England that was influenced by the Dutch baroque, and it was more relaxed and naturalistic than previous styles.  

Peter Lely and his contemporaries continued his artistic legacy, and in this portrait it is possible to see some of the development of this baroque style, including dramatic contrast through the juxtaposition of light and dark, muted lines, and an atmospheric quality. Often depicted in a naturalistic pose, as opposed to the stiff stylized figures of Holbein, the physical details of the sitter are less realistic and often the sitter’s likeness is highly idealized. Here our sitter gestures at an attentive spaniel, a breed often identified with the Stuart family.

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Canvas: 40" x 50", 101cm x 127cm.
Framed: 56" x 47", 142cm x 120cm..