Nell Gwyn(1651?-1687), Actress; mistress of Charles II
Eleanor ('Nell') Gwyn
Sitter associated with 29 portraits
Eleanor Gywn, or 'Pretty witty Nell', as Pepys called her, came to London as an orange-seller, and rose to become one of the leading comic actresses of the day, and mistress to the King, Charles II. The playwright Dryden supplied her with a series of saucy, bustling parts, ideally suited to her talents. She had two sons by the King, and the elder, Charles Beauclerk, was created Duke of St Albans. She was said to have been remembered by Charles on his deathbed with the words 'Let not poor Nelly starve'.
published by Joseph Hogarth, after Unknown artist
stipple engraving, published 1845
by Richard Gaywood, after Sir Anthony Van Dyck, and head after Gerard Valck, after Sir Peter Lely
etching and line engraving, circa 1662; head late 17th century