Sir Peter Lely
A young man playing an eleven-course lute, c. late 1640s
(Presumably) painted for William, 1st Earl of Craven (1608 – 1697), Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire; and by inheritance to
William, 3rd Baron Craven (1700 – 1739), as recorded in the inventory of his estate dated 17 Sept. 1739; and by inheritance to his brother
Fulwar, 4th Baron Craven (d. 1764); thence to his cousin
William, 5th Baron Craven (1705 – 1769); thence to his nephew
William, 6th Baron Craven (1738 – 1791); thence by descent to
William George Robert, 4th Earl Craven (1868 – 1921); and by inheritance to his wife
Cornelia, Countess of Craven (d. 1961);
Her Estate Sale; Sotheby’s, London, 27 Nov. 1968, lot 85 (£5,800).
Leggatt, London, acquired at the above sale.
Dr. D. McDonald, by 1978.
Anon. sale; Christie’s, London, 20 Nov. 1992, lot 8.
Private Collection, UK, acquired at the above sale; thence by descent.
Coombe Abbey Inventory, 17 Sept. 1739 (Craven MSS).
T. Pennant, Esq., The Journey from Chester to London, London, 1811, p. 247 (as Frans Hals).
Catalogue of the Pictures at Coombe Abbey Warwickshire, 1866, no. 140.
C.H. Collins Baker, Lely and the Stuart Portrait Painters, London, 1912, vol. I, p. 196 (as by Soest).
H. Walpole, in The Walpole Society Journal, vol. XVI, 1928, p. 63 (noticed in 1768 and recorded as by Frans Hals).
Tate Gallery, London, Report, 1966-67, p. 17.
O. Millar, Sir Peter Lely, 1618-20, exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery, London, 1978, p. 42, no. 14 (illus.)
M. Butlin, Aspects of British Painting 1550 – 1800 (From the Collection of The Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation), Houston, TX, 1988, p. 38.
London, 15 Carlton House Terrace, Sir Peter Lely, 1618-20, 17 Nov. 1978 – 18 March 1979, no. 14 [lent by Dr. D. McDonald].
This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work, currently in preparation by Diana Dethloff and Catharine MacLeod.
The sitter in this picture is identical to the cellist in the foreground of Lely’s The Concert (Courtauld Institute of Art, London). The Concert was described by R. and J. Dodsley (London and its environs described, London, 1761, vol. III, p. 85) as being of ‘Sir Peter and his family’ and has long been held to represent the artist’s family, although at the date The Concert was executed the artist did not in fact have a family. Nonetheless it is possible that the figure in this picture, the cellist depicted in The Concert and the Man Playing the Violin in the Blaffer Foundation are all self-portraits. This idea is substantiated by a comparison with the signed black chalk sketch Self-Portrait (Private Collection), which is dateable to the early 1650s (see O. Millar, op. cit., no. 70).