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This intimate portrait dates from Lely’s earliest years in England. He moved from the Netherlands to London in 1641 to pursue landscape and history painting. He found, however, that portraits were in greater demand. Here, the unknown sitter is represented in an informal manner. Her garments do not reflect contemporary dress but rather seem drawn from theatrical costume and relate to the taste for pastorals in literature, music and theatre at that period.

The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)



Portrait of a Woman




oil on canvas


H 91.4 x W 62.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the Samuel Courtauld Trust for The Courtauld Gallery on behalf of The Courtauld Gallery, 2010

Work type



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The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

Somerset House, Strand, London, Greater London WC2R 0RN England

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