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Sir Peter Lely (1618-80), Portrait of a Young Girl. Black and white chalk heightened with red chalk and pink pastel, 29.5 x 20 cm. Estimate: 12.000-15.000۩ Ivoire Nantes

NANTES.- This lovely drawing by Sir Peter Lely, an important, rarely seen portrait painter at the English royal court in the late 17th century, is being offered by IVOIRE NANTES Auction to be held Tuesday, 13 June 2017 

Sir Peter Lely (1618-80), an Englishman of Dutch descent, is an important, rarely seen artist. A fashionable portrait painter in England at the end of the 17th century, he was an official painter at the Royal Court of England and also a great art lover and collector of drawings. 

This beautiful drawing, signed “PL”, being auctioned by IVOIRE NANTES, has belonged to several important English collections. It was framed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (according to a label on the back) and later purchased in London by a Frenchman who took it to the Dordogne. Since then, it has remained in the same family through the generations. 

The soft mix of chalks in this lovely drawing contributes to its great poignancy. With a reasonable estimate of €12,000-€15,000, it is expected to create a sensation at auction. 

Sir Peter Lely was an immensely popular portraitist of the monarchs of his time and also painted many portraits of voluptuous, nonchalant aristocratic ladies. Early in his career, Lely made an effort to depict the spirit and character of his models in the style of Van Dyck, but later he concentrated on their outward grace. 

Sir Peter Lely also produced more intimate portraits, especially of his family. The portrait of this girl has not been linked to the artist’s known portraits, making it all the more appealing. 

(1) Sir Peter Lely put together an important collection of paintings and drawings. In addition to works by Van Dyck, his painting collection was especially rich in Venetian works by Guercino, Guido Reni, Claude Lorrain and Peter Paul Rubens. His collection of drawings and prints is said to have numbered nearly 10,000 pieces, making it the richest ever brought together in England.