Windsor Beauties

Last updated

Anne Digby, Countess of Sunderland, before 1666 Anne Digby Countess of Sunderland.jpg
Anne Digby, Countess of Sunderland, before 1666
Elizabeth Wriothesley, Countess of Northumberland, 1669 Elizabeth Wriothesley, Countess of Northumberland.jpg
Elizabeth Wriothesley, Countess of Northumberland, 1669

The Windsor Beauties are a set of portrait paintings, still in the Royal Collection, by Sir Peter Lely and his workshop, produced in the early to mid-1660s, that depict ladies of the court of King Charles II, some of whom were his mistresses. [1] [2] The name stems from the original location of the collection, which was at Windsor Castle. In 2022, they were on display at Hampton Court Palace.

Contents

A set of copies was commissioned by Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland in the 17th century for his collection at Althorp House, and the complete set can still be viewed there in the Picture Gallery, a room he created to show off his adoration for art. [3]

The portraits

Henriette, Duchess of Orleans, 1662 Portrait of Henriette of England, Duchess of Orleans seated in a landscape from the studio of Sir Peter Lely.jpg
Henriette, Duchess of Orléans, 1662
Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, 1662 Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, 1662 by Lely.jpg
Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, 1662

The Royal Collection includes 10 portraits as part of the set. They show the women at three-quarter length in various poses. Some women wear current fashions; others are draped in loose robes intended to evoke classical antiquity.

Originally commissioned by Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, the first mention of the paintings is by Samuel Pepys, describing them in his diary as being hung in "the Duke of York's room" in 1668. [4] A 1674 inventory lists them as in the ducal rooms at St. James Palace; [5] and by 1688 they had moved to the "Princess's dressing room" at Windsor Castle. Moved to the castle's state rooms during the 18th century, the Windsor Beauties were transferred to Hampton Court at some time prior to 1835. [4]

List of "Beauties"

The original set of "Beauties" painted by Lely include, depending on the source, these 12 portraits:

The portraits for the first 10 names are included at the Royal Collection website as "probably commissioned by Anne Hyde, Duchess of York."

The Duchess of York does not figure in the above list often; but since she was largely responsible for the collection, and choosing the sitters, she was also painted as part of the series. Possibly a little flattery from Lely was responsible for this.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anne Hyde</span> First wife of James II before he became king

Anne Hyde was Duchess of York and Albany as the first wife of James, Duke of York, who later became King James II and VII.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland</span> English royal mistress from the Villiers family

Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland, Countess of Castlemaine, was an English royal mistress of the Villiers family and perhaps the most notorious of the many mistresses of King Charles II of England, by whom she had five children, all of them acknowledged and subsequently ennobled. Barbara was the subject of many portraits, in particular by court painter Sir Peter Lely.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frances Stewart, Duchess of Richmond</span> Prominent member of the Restoration court

Frances Teresa Stewart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox was a prominent member of the Court of the Restoration and famous for refusing to become a mistress of Charles II of England. For her great beauty she was known as La Belle Stuart and served as the model for an idealised, female Britannia. She is one of the Windsor Beauties painted by Sir Peter Lely.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lady of the Bedchamber</span> Personal attendant on a British queen or princess

Lady of the Bedchamber is the title of a lady-in-waiting holding the official position of personal attendant on a British Queen regnant or Queen consort. The position is traditionally held by the wife of a peer. They are ranked between the Mistress of the Robes and the Women of the Bedchamber; unlike the latter they are not in regular attendance, however they are on duty for the more important public occasions. On overseas visits the Queen has tended to be accompanied by two Ladies-in-waiting, one of whom is usually a Lady of the Bedchamber.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emilia Butler, Countess of Ossory</span>

Emilia Butler, Countess of Ossory, born Æmilia van Nassau-Beverweerd, was an Anglo-Dutch courtier.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Lely</span> 17th-century Dutch painter

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Berkeley, 1st Earl of Falmouth</span>

Charles Berkeley, 1st Earl of Falmouth was an English nobleman and naval officer who was the son of Charles Berkeley (1599–1668) and his wife Penelope née Godolphin, of the Bruton branch of the Berkeley family.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hampton Court Beauties</span>

The Hampton Court Beauties are a series of eight portraits by Sir Godfrey Kneller, commissioned by Queen Mary II of England, depicting the most glamorous ladies from the court of William III. They adorn the state rooms of King William III at Hampton Court Palace.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henrietta Hyde, Countess of Rochester</span>

Henrietta Hyde, Countess of Rochester was an Anglo-Irish noblewoman. She was one of the Windsor Beauties painted by Sir Peter Lely.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frances Whitmore</span>

Frances Whitmore (1666–1695) was a British courtier. Frances was one of the Hampton Court Beauties painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller for Queen Mary II. She was styled Dame Frances Myddelton.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hon. Frances Brooke</span>

Hon. Frances Brooke was a British courtier. She was styled Hon. Frances Brooke, and then Lady Whitmore. She was granted the style of a daughter of a baron in 1665.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henrietta Louisa Fermor</span>

Henrietta Louisa Fermor, Countess of Pomfret, was an English letter writer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elizabeth Percy, Countess of Northumberland</span>

Elizabeth Percy, Countess of Northumberland, was a British courtier. She was one of the Windsor Beauties, painted by Sir Peter Lely.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mary, Countess of Falmouth and Dorset</span> British courtier, mistress of Charles II

Mary, Countess of Falmouth and Dorset was a British courtier and mistress of King Charles II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Georgiana Spencer, Countess Spencer</span>

Margaret Georgiana Spencer, Countess Spencer, was an English philanthropist. She was born at St James's Palace as the daughter of a diplomat and a maid of honour to Caroline of Ansbach. In 1754, she married John Spencer, one of the wealthiest men of the era. A love match, the marriage resulted in the births of three surviving children, who included Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. The Spencers became earl and countess in 1765, a reward granted by the Duke of Newcastle for John's political loyalty to the Whig party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anne Mee</span> British artist (1765–1851)

Anne Mee, née Foldsone (1765–1851) was a prolific English miniature painter of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jane Myddelton</span>

Jane Myddelton or Middleton, was a reputed English beauty of the Restoration period, one of the Windsor Beauties. Thomas Seccombe in the Dictionary of National Biography described celebrated portraits as "representing a soft and slightly torpid type of blonde loveliness, with voluptuous figure, full lips, auburn hair, and dark hazel eyes".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henrietta Paulet, Duchess of Bolton</span>

Henrietta Paulet, Duchess of Bolton, was the third wife of Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Margaret, Lady Denham</span>

Margaret, Lady Denham, formerly the Honourable Margaret Brooke, was an English courtier during the reign of King Charles II of England and was one of the "Windsor Beauties" painted by Sir Peter Lely. She was a mistress of the future King James II of England.

References

  1. Jones, Robert W (1998). Gender and the Formation of Taste in Eighteenth-Century Britain: The Analysis of Beauty. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   9780521593267 . Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. Hamilton, Adrian (16 April 2012). "Carry on, your majesty: Charles II and his court ladies". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  3. Spencer, Charles, Althorp: The Story of an English House.
  4. 1 2 Alexander, Julia Marciari; MacLeod, Catharine (2007). Politics, Transgression, and Representation at the Court of Charles II. Yale Center for British Art. pp. 81–82. ISBN   9780300116564.
  5. Wenzel, M. (1 November 2002). "The Windsor Beauties by Sir Peter Lely and the collection of paintings at St James's Palace, 1674". Journal of the History of Collections. 14 (2): 205–213. doi:10.1093/jhc/14.2.205. ISSN   0954-6650.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Cunningham, Peter (1865). "The Early Painters of England: Peter Lely". The Art Journal. 27 (Vol. 4, New series): 8.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Melville, Lewis (2005). The Windsor Beauties: Ladies of the Court of Charles II (Revised ed.). Ann Arbor: Victorian Heritage Press. pp. i. ISBN   1-932690-13-1.