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Sir Peter Lely (1618-80)

Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland (ca 1641-1709) c. 1665

Oil on canvas | 124.5 x 101.4 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 404957

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In the guise of the goddess of war, the Duchess wears a plumed helmet and rests one hand on a shield, a spear held in the other. The dramatic costume and stormy skies behind, heighten the sitter’s calm beauty. This is one of a set of ten portraits of the most attractive women at court (‘The Windsor Beauties’). Painted for Anne Hyde, Duchess of York (wife of the future James II)