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Title Susane Armine, Baroness Bellasis (about 1644-1713)
Collection English Heritage (Kenwood House)
Artist Attributed to studio of Lely, Peter (Dutch painter and draftsman, 1618-1680, active in England)
Date Earliest about 1673
Date Latest about 1680
Description This painting was produced in Lely's studio using a popular composition from among the artist's female portraits. The subject is pushed into the foreground as if about to step beyond the confines of the frame; she wears a loose fitting dress and mantle that emphasise her sensual qualities while also lending her a classicising, nymph like appearance. She leans against a large masonry block that contrasts with her languid demeanour while the portrait's setting in a forest further enhances the charged Arcadian atmosphere of the painting. Susan Armine was renowned as a mistress of the Duke of York (later James II), who created her Baroness Bellasis of Osgodby in 1674. In 1673 Bishop Burnet, an adversary of James II, sourly recorded that she was 'a woman of much life and vivacity, but of a very small proportion of beauty'. Lely's testimony contrasts starkly with this opinion.
Current Accession Number 88019191
Former Accession Number 41; 384
Subject portrait (Susane Armine, Baroness Bellasis)
Measurements 90.0 x 120 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given to the Nation by the Honourable Mrs Grenville Howard on the request of her mother-in-law Margaret Hyde, 19th Countess of Suffolk 1974.
Provenance Suffolk collection by descent, first recorded at Charlton Park 1919.
Publications Goulding, R. W., 'Wriothesly Portraits', Walpole Society, VII, 1919-20, p. 90, n. 1 (as unknown lady); Country Life, 1933, p. 413 ill; Beckett, R. B., Lely, 1951, p. 37, no. 40; Jacob, J., The Suffolk Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, London, 1974, no. 41.

Pieter van der Faes, called Lely (1618-1680) trained with Frans Pietersz. de Grebber at Haarlem before moving to London in 1641/3. In 1647 he became a 'freeman' of the Painter-Stainers' company on the same day as his friend the poet Richard Lovelace. The leading court portrait painter of his generation, Lely was appointed Principal Painter to the King in 1661, he was naturalised the following year and knighted the year of his death.

An important collector of paintings, drawings and prints his collections were dispersed after 1680.

There is a mezzotint in reverse of the subject by R. Tompson (active 1675-9) and a painted versions: Earl of Kimberly sale, Sotheby's, 6 February 1963, lot 5 (as follower of Lely); Lely used this portrait pose several times changing only the face, including: Marchioness of Athol (Meikleour, 46 x 38 cms); Lady Elisabeth Felton (Ickworth); Katherine Fitzjames (Syon); Vere Isham (Lamport Hall); Countess of Montague and Northumberland (Boughton, Syon); Duchess of Portsmouth (Raby Castle); Duchess of Richmond (Goodwood House).

Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author Francesco Nevola




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