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Sir Peter Lely

Sir Peter Lely

Birth
Soest, Kreis Soest, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Death 30 Nov 1680 (aged 62)
Covent Garden, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England
Burial Covent Garden, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England
Plot Buried in the churchyard (exact location unknown)
Memorial ID 10250 · View Source
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Artist. He is best known as the primary portrait painter to the English Court from 1661 until his death. He was born Pieter van der Faes to Dutch parents at Soest in Westphalia, in present-day Germany, where his father was a military officer in the army of the Elector of Brandenburg. He studied painting at Haarlem, in the Netherlands and became a master of the Guild of Saint Luke there in 1637. He adopted the surname "Lely" reportedly from a heraldic lily on the gable of the house where his father was born in The Hague, Netherlands. Around 1641 he came to London, England and established himself as a portrait artist who was influenced by the Flemish Baroque artist Anthony van Dyck. His paintings were popular and he succeeded van Dyck (who had died in 1641) as the most fashionable portrait artist in England. In 1647 he became a freeman of the Painter-Stainers' Company and was the portrait artist to English King Charles I. His talent remained secured after the overthrow and execution of Charles I and when the English monarchy was restored in 1660, he was appointed King Charles II's Principal Painter in Ordinary in 1661, with an annual stipend of 200 pounds. He taught art at his workshop and gave apprenticeships, with one being the future English philosopher, architect, physicist, and inventor Robert Hooke. In addition to painting portraits of noted English nobility and aristocrats, he painted a series of ten portraits of ladies from the Royal Court, known as the "Windsor Beauties," which are among his most famous portraits. He painted another series of twelve portraits of the English admirals and captains who fought in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, known as the "Flagmen of Lowestoft." His most famous non-portrait work is probably "Nymphs by a Fountain." He played an important role with the introduction of the mezzotint to England, a new printmaking process invented by German artist Ludwig von Siegen. In 1680 he was knighted by Charles II and died shortly afterward in Covent Garden England, while painting a portrait of the Duchess of Somerset (probably Sarah Seymour).

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10250
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Peter Lely (14 Sep 1618–30 Nov 1680), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10250, citing St. Paul's Churchyard, Covent Garden, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .