Lady With An Ermine

No,  not Da Vinci’s lady and her pet!  This is another eBay find, offered up by the same people who presented Lady Middleton for sale back in June. (See blog entry “Lady Who?”).


This  new canvas is entitled “Portrait of a lady with an ermine cape”, and is attributed, thanks to an inscribed plaque and an old label, to Lady Middeton’s claimed painter, Sir Peter Lely. For a supposed  work of the great Sir Peter, our lady in ringlets is going surprisingly cheap, with a ‘buy it now’ price of  £4,500. There are no hints as to the sitter’s identity, sadly.

I’m not convinced by the attribution, although it’s a very sweet painting, but I’d like to know its provenance, and why persons unknown were so certain of the artist. What do readers think of this one?

Click to view on Ebay

Update 5th October: I’ve had a dig around the internet to try to find out more, and has listed it from a past auction as ‘follower of Sir Peter Lely’, which I think is more accurate (and honest) than the sale listing on eBay.

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  1. Doesn’t look like a Lely to me, not at all. It’s what, early 60s? Late 50s at earliest? It looks too restrained for his post-Restoration portraits of women, to me. I wonder if it needs cleaning? It looks a trifle murky. It couldn’t be a Wright, could it? I’m guessing from my limited knowledge of painters of the period here. Sweet painting, whoever did it.


    • The more I look at it the more curious it becomes. It’s very dark, and hard to tell if it’s just grubby or has a deliberately empty background. I’ve just realised it’s actually in an oval. Also it looks like she’s got a dark hood over her hair, and could be resting her elbow on books? I think it’s too subdued for Wright, but then I’ve not really studied his female portraits so can’t be sure.


      • I imagine it’s deliberately empty, that’s usual with oval portraits, isn’t it? But the more I look, the more I think it could do with cleaning. I think you’re right about the hood, it looks to me like a dark veil. Is she resting her elbow on a ledge? They’re pretty common too. Be interesting to see a woman with books in that period.


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