Sir Peter Lely (Soest, Westphalia 1618-1680 London), Double portrait said to be of Francis Lennard, 14th Baron Dacre (1619-1692), and Elizabeth, née Bayning, later Countess of Sheppey (1625-1686), three-quarter-length, the former in a black cloak, the latter in an oyster dress and blue wrap fastened with a brooch, seated before a red draped curtain, a wooded landscape beyondPhoto: Christie's Images Ltd., 2012

4ith identifying inscription 'Francis Lennard. Ld. D'Acre and his wife Daughter of Paul- Ld.viscount Banning wch Francis was Son of Rich.d Ld, D,Acre by Eliz:th his first wife daug: Of S.r Ar: Throgmor·ton (upper left) and with the sitters' coat-of-arms (upper left); oil on canvas; 50 3/8 x 67¾ in. (128 x 172 cm.); in its original Sunderland frame. Estimate £300,000 - £500,000 ($467,400 - $779,000)

Provenance: By descent in the sitters' family to
Sir Thomas Barrett Lennard (1853-1923), Belhus, Aveley, Essex; his sale, Alfred Savill & Sons, on the premises, 15 May 1923, lot 897.
Lord Brand (1878-1963), and by descent to his daughter,
The Hon. Lady Ford, Eydon Hall, Daventry, Northamptonshire; Christie's, London, 19 November 1982, lot 79 (£50,000 to the father of the present owner).

Literature: T. Barrett Lennard, The Families of Lennard and Barrett, Norwich, 1908, pp. 276 and 593, illustrated.
P. Toynbee, 'Horace Walpole's journals of visits to country seats', Walpole Society, XVI, London, 1927-1928, p. 34.

Notes: Francis Lennard, 14th Baron Dacre, was the eldest son of Richard, 13th Baron Dacre (1596-1630), and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Arthur Throckmorton. Dacre was only eleven when he succeeded his father and after matriculating at Merton College, Oxford, in 1634, he travelled to the continent. He returned to England before the summoning of the Long Parliament, during the early stages of which he sided with the small group of peers who actively supported the reforming measures adopted by the House of Commons. This zeal for the parliamentarian cause led to his being nominated Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire in 1642. However, by voting against the bill for the establishment of the high court of justice to try Charles I in 1649, Dacre was soon removed from local office. Although he was elected as one of the knights of the shire for Sussex in Cromwell's parliament of 1654, Dacre took little part in the proceedings and showed little support for the protectorate regime. After the Restoration, he was one of the most prominent grandees from Sussex who welcomed the return of Charles II.

In 1641 Dacre married Elizabeth, daughter of Paul, 1st Viscount Bayning, and his wife Anne (who later married Dudley Carleton, 1st Viscount Dorchester, the diplomat and collector), by whom he had three sons and three daughters. They lived at Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, where Dacre was able to indulge his passion for the relatively novel pastime of yachting. He died, aged 43, at his lodgings in St. Martin's Lane, Westminster, on 12 May 1662, and was buried at Chevening in Kent. Lady Dacre remarried the following year and was created Countess of Sheppey in 1680. Their eldest son, Thomas, was created Earl of Sussex after his marriage to Lady Anne Palmer, daughter of King Charles II and Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland.

This portrait would appear to date from the mid-1650s, by which time Lely was the pre-eminent portraitist in Britain. It was during this period that Lely produced a number of three-quarter-length marriage and friendship portraits that owe much in their conception to Van Dyck. During the 1640s Lely had been employed by a number of Van Dyck's former clients, including Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke, and Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland. This gave Lely the opportunity to study and absorb the older artist's style, palette and compositions. By the time of his death in 1680, Lely possessed twenty-five paintings by Van Dyck, including the Portrait of Dorothy Savage and her sister Elizabeth, Lady Thimbleby(?) (circa 1635; London, National Gallery), a work which may well have inspired the double portraits that Lely executed from the mid 1650s onwards. The present picture can be compared with Lely's portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Earle, of circa 1653 (Norfolk, Heydon Hall), and The Capel Sisterscirca 1654 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). These double portraits constitute a turning point in the development of the artist's technique, revealing 'a new ease and suavity in the handling of pigment, showing that mastery has been gained, and so ushering in the work of Lely's best period' (R.B. Beckett, Lely, London, 1951, p. 12).

Christie's. Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale, 3 July 2012. London, King Street