Skip to main content

Barbara Villiers, later Duchess of Cleveland (1640-1709) (work of art)

Artwork Info

Created
circa 1662-1665
Nationality
Dutch
Birth/Death
1616-1680
Dimensions
50 x 40 in.
(127 x 101.6 cm)

Credit

Gift of the Van Diemen-Lilienfeld Galleries and the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in memory of William R. Valentiner

Culture
European

About

Among Peter Lely’s most celebrated works was a series of ten portraits of fashionable women from the royal court known as the “Windsor Beauties.” Included in this series was Barbara Villiers, arguably the most influential woman in Britain at the time. She used her beauty to gain wealth and considerable political power, receiving from the king a generous pension, land grants, and aristocratic titles. Lely’s portrait of Villiers helped establish his reputation as well as her image as the preeminent court beauty.

Images

  • Barbara Villiers, later Duchess of Cleveland (1640-1709) by Studio of Sir Peter Lely