First Previous 17 OF 31 NextLast

Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester

17 of 31 portraits on display at Lyme Park, Stockport

Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, studio of Sir Peter Lely, (circa 1675) - NPG 36 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester

studio of Sir Peter Lely
oil on canvas, (circa 1675)
49 1/2 in. x 39 1/2 in. (1257 mm x 1003 mm)
Purchased, 1858
Primary Collection
NPG 36


Click on the links below to find out more:

Share this

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 842 portraits, Sitter in 19 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Known for her vivacious personality, Catherine Sedley was a member of the court of Charles II where she won the devotion of James, Duke of York. She was astonished at his passion, saying: 'It cannot be my beauty, for he must see I have none; and it cannot be my wit, for he has not enough to know that I have any'. She became his mistress, however, and was made a countess after James's accession to the throne. Although there is good evidence to suggest that this is the Countess of Dorchester, Lely's portraits of the women at Charles II's court all approximate to one fashionable face. This pose and setting, showing the sitter in a rocky landscape, was one of the artist's favourite designs.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D18790: Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester (after)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Foskett, Daphne, Samuel Cooper, 1974 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 15 March - 15 June 1974), p. 128
  • Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 73
  • Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 110
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 183

Events of 1675back to top

Current affairs

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth oversees the suppression of the London weavers' riots which break out in the East End against the introduction of mechanised silk looms. The great fire of Northampton quickly destroys the city. Charles II donates timber for its reconstruction.

Art and science

Charles II founds the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and appoints John Flamsteed the first Astronomer Royal. Royal approval is given to the 'Warrant' design, Sir Christopher Wren's design for the rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral devastated by the Great Fire (1666).

International

A naval campaign into the Mediterranean under the command of Sir John Narbrough, with protégé, Cloudesley Shovell as lieutenant, blockades the port of Tripoli and successfully halts persistent attacks on English merchant ships by North African pirates. A peace treaty is signed with Tripoli in 1676.

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.