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Peter Lely
Dates: Dutch, 1618 - 1680
Biographical Account:

Sir Peter Lely was born in Germany to Dutch parents. After training in Haarlem in the Netherlands he came to England in the 1640s and became one of the most celebrated portrait painters in the country. After the artist Sir Anthony van Dyck’s death in 1641, Lely had the opportunity to study many of his paintings as he worked for a number of his patrons.


Following the restoration of the English monarchy Lely became the Principal painter of Charles II in 1661. He was a prolific portrait painter and demand for his work was very high. By 1670 he had a large studio and after painting the sitter’s head from life would handover to his assistants to complete the rest of the portrait. He is believed to have died at his easel in 1680, possibly from overwork.

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