Unknown woman, formerly known as Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess de Gramont

1 portrait

Unknown woman, formerly known as Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess de Gramont, by Sir Peter Lely, circa 1665 - NPG 509 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Unknown woman, formerly known as Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess de Gramont

by Sir Peter Lely
oil on canvas, circa 1665
55 1/2 in. x 55 in. (1410 mm x 1397 mm)
Purchased, 1878
Primary Collection
NPG 509


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Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 825 portraits, Sitter in 18 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This portrait of a beauty seated in an idyllic landscape and feeding a lamb is thought to be of Elizabeth, Countess of Grammont. The granddaughter of the Earl of Abercorn, she was known at the court of Charles II as 'la belle Hamilton'. After refusing a number of suitors she eventually became the wife of the Comte de Grammont, who had escaped a bachelor from many entanglements. The pose with a lamb was a favourite of Lely's and is also seen in the portrait of Nell Gwyn from his studio. It is a device which, like others seen in portraits of court beauties, suggests that the charms of the sitter were entirely natural and unaffected, like those of the lamb and the landscape.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 146
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 690