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Sir Peter Lely (1618-80)

Eleanor Needham, Lady Byron (1627-64) 1664?

RCIN 404089

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Draped fabric arranged along fashionable lines was considered particularly suitable for women adopting the persona of a religious or historical figure in their portrait. Eleanor Needham here appears as St Catherine of Alexandria, a popular guise for female courtiers during the 1660s, intended as flattery towards Queen Catherine of Braganza, who was born on St Catherine’s feast day.