Portrait of a Young Lady, possibly Miss Wharton

Portrait of a Young Lady, possibly Miss Wharton

about 1660
Peter Lely, English, 1618-1680
Oil paint on canvas
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust

Sir Peter Lely, Portrait of a Young Lady, possibly Miss Wharton, Early 1660s. Oil paint on canvas; 50 1/2 × 40 1/2 in. (128.3 × 102.9 cm). Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, 2020.5

image height: 50 1/2 in, 128.2700 cm; image width: 40 1/2 in, 102.8700 cm; frame height: 57 in, 144.7800 cm; frame width: 47 1/2 in, 120.65 cm; frame depth: 2 3/4 in, 6.985 cm
European and American Art Before 1900
European Painting and Sculpture before 1900
This object is currently on view

Sir Peter Lely was the leading portrait painter of his day. His sensuous brushwork and lush colors perfectly suited the taste for luxury and licentiousness in post-Cromwell England. Lely’s society ladies were shown dressed in flowing gowns of silk and satin, revealing much and sometimes all of the bosom. The youthful Miss Wharton is almost demure by contrast. Instead of a languid, seductive pose, Miss Wharton sits upright facing the viewer. The pose is reminiscent of Renaissance Madonnas, a visual connection Lely may have wished to make in the viewer’s mind for its message of innocence and purity.

Known Provenance
Possibly James Christie (1730–1803); by descent; sale, Christie’s, London, July 11, 1997, lot 5; from which acquired by William M. B. Berger and Bernadette Johnson Berger, Denver; Berger Collection Educational Trust; gifted to the Denver Art Museum, 2020. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum and we will post information as it becomes available. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • “Treasures from the Berger Collection: British Paintings 1400-2000” — Denver Art Museum, 10/2/2014 – 9/9/2018

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