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Portrait of Lady Judith Monson (c.1623-1700) c.1661; Antique Oil Painting

Circa 1661

$20,798.41

About

The fair-skinned beauty in this grand scale portrait is Lady Judith Monson (c.1623-1700), the daughter of Sir Thomas Pelham (2nd Baronet) of Laughton in Sussex and his wife Mary (nee Wilbraham). She appears amongst the bounties of nature, her white skin and neck sparkling without the distraction of added, and artificial, adornments. Born Lady Judith Pelham, she married John Monson (c.1628-1674), the son of Sir John Monson, 2nd Baronet of South Carlton and Broxbourne, in London on 7 June 1647. Her husband served as Member of Parliament for Lincoln in two periods between 1660 and 1674. The noble house in which John Monson represented ranks amongst the oldest families in the country with ancestors traced back in Lincolnshire to the 14th century. The couple had 14 children, 7 of which were living at the time of their father’s death in 1674. Lady Monson died on 21 December 1700 in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, at the age of 72, and was buried there. The portrait is likely to have been commissioned to celebrate her husband’s creation as Knight of the Bath in 1661 in recognition of his work as a commissioner and a J.P. in Lincolnshire and subsequently Hertfordshire. At this time, she became known as Lady Monson. The sitter wears a russet-coloured dress and a turquoise wrap. This painting with its verdant outdoor setting, vibrant use of paint to depict texture, and sensitive treatment of the sitter’s beauty follows the patterns of Sir Peter Lely’s female portraiture, ultimately set out by Van Dyke. As was common at the time, there is more than one version of this portrait (see Sotheby's London, Wednesday, March 19, 2003, Lot 37) by Lely and his circle. Clients could commission several versions, for their different homes, or as gifts for their children or friends. For example, the prominence of woman at the Court lead to a great demand for their portraiture, not just from these women themselves, but from those who hoped to gain something from them, their husbands or lovers. During this period Charles II’s triumphant restoration to his throne in May 1660 presented an opportunity, and created a perceived need, to re-create a court, one that emphasised continuity with the reign of his father, Charles I. An important element in the construction of the identity of the monarch and his court was the production of visual imagery, and artists were appointed to provide various kinds of portraits. Peter Lely, a Dutch artist who had worked in England since the 1640’s, was already clearly established as the most successful painter in oils in the country and was the obvious successor to Charles I’s Principal Painter, Sir Anthony van Dyck. Sir Peter Lely’s character and art dominated the art world of the second half of the seventeenth century in England. Everyone of consequence in his age sat to him, and it is in his portraits that we form our conception of English portraiture during the Protectorate and years following the Restoration. He was the son of a Dutch military officer, and was born in at Soest in Westphalia in 1618. He studied in Haarlem before moving to London in 1641, and in 1647 he became a freeman of the Painter-Stainers’ Company. Initially, Lely painted landscapes, religious, and mythological scenes, however, he quickly recognised the strength of the English market for portraiture and this is where he turned his attention. He was employed by the Duke of Northumberland, who had the royal children in his care, and he was able to study the Northumberland Collection of works by Van Dyke and Dobson. By the end of the Commonwealth, he had become the best-known portraitist in England. In 1661 he was appointed Principal Painter to the King, from then on he maintained a busy and successful practice painting the most elite and influential members of the court and of everyone of importance. His studio was prolific and employed many assistants, as was the common studio method. His success thus meant that he established the basic English portrait style for decades. Lely was a connoisseur and was known for his own fine art collection. By the end of his life he had assembled one the finest non-princely collections in Europe including more than 25 of Van Dyke’s major English works, Old Masters including Veronese, Titian, Claude Lorrain and Rubens, and a fabulous collection of drawings.

Details

  • Creation Year
    Circa 1661
  • Dimensions
    Height: 54.73 in. (139 cm)Width: 46.07 in. (117 cm)Depth: 2.37 in. (6 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Circle Of
    (Circle of) Sir Peter Lely (1618 - 1680)
  • Period
    Mid-17th Century
  • Condition
    Good condition. All our items pass a quality test by our conservators to ensure the condition is good prior to going on sale. This painting can be hung and enjoyed immediately.
  • Gallery Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU119917705042

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $834.72 Express Parcel Shipping
    to United States 0, arrives in 8-11 days.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: London, United Kingdom
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 2 days of delivery.

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