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SIR PETER LELY (1618-80)

Frances Stuart, Duchess of Richmond (1647-1702)

before 1662

RCIN 404514

While it is tempting to interpret the clothing in portraits as accurate portrayals of real garments, artists like Lely often modified fashionable clothing for artistic effect. Here the renowned court beauty Frances Stuart wears clothing cut along the lines of a fashionable nightgown (a garment worn informally in the home), with a low pointed waistline following fashions of the early 1660s. However, the artist has loosened it to reveal more of the shift beneath and added superfluous fluttering fabric behind.

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