Two ladies of the Lake Family - Sir Peter Lely - Framed Picture 16" x 12"
Sir Peter Lely was a painter of Dutch origin whose career was nearly all spent in England, where he became the dominant portrait painter to the court.
He arrived in London in around 1641, which was marked by the death of Anthony van Dyck in December. His early English paintings, mainly mythological or religious scenes, or portraits set in a pastoral landscape, show influences from Anthony van Dyck and the Dutch baroque.
Lely's portraits were well received, and he succeeded Anthony van Dyck as the most fashionable portrait artist in England.
He became a freeman of the Painter-Stainers' Company in 1647 and was portrait artist to Charles I. His talent ensured that his career was not interrupted by Charles's execution, and he served Oliver Cromwell, whom he painted "warts and all", and Richard Cromwell.
After the English Restoration in 1660, Lely was appointed as Charles II's Principal Painter in Ordinary in 1661, with a stipend of £200 per year, as Van Dyck had enjoyed in the previous Stuart reign. Lely became a naturalised English subject in 1662. The young Robert Hooke came to London to follow an apprenticeship with Lely before being given a place at Westminster School by Richard Busby.
Lely played a significant role in introducing the mezzotint to Britain, as he realized its possibilities for publicising his portraits. He encouraged Dutch mezzotinters to come to Britain to copy his work, laying the foundations for the English mezzotint tradition.
Lely was knighted in 1680. He died soon afterwards at his easel in Covent Garden, while painting a portrait of the Duchess of Somerset, and was buried at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden.
He was replaced as court portraitist by Sir Godfrey Kneller, also a German-born Dutchman, whose style drew from Lely's but reflecting later Continental trends. Between them they established the basic English portrait style followed by less fashionable painters for decades.
Amongst Lely's pupils were John Greenhill and Willem Wissing.
A horse was also named after him, finishing fourth in the 1996 Grand National.