© National Portrait Gallery, London
Eleanor ('Nell') Gwyn
by Gerard Valck, after Sir Peter Lely Click on the links below to find out more
line engraving, circa 1673
13 3/4 in. x 10 3/8 in. (348 mm x 264 mm) paper size
acquired unknown source, 1950
- Eleanor ('Nell') Gwyn (1651?-1687), Actress; mistress of Charles II. Sitter associated with 29 portraits.
- Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 842 portraits, Sitter in 19 portraits.
- Gerard Valck (1651 or 1652-1726). Artist associated with 33 portraits.
She is shown here as a shepherdess garlanding a lamb, a pose that Lely often employed in the 1670s. But while there is almost never any distinction between the poses Lely used to portray respectable women and those of more dubious reputations, portraits that include bare breasts seem exclusively to depict mistresses.
- NPG 3811: Eleanor ('Nell') Gwyn (from same plate)
- NPG D11443: Mary (née Kirke), Lady Vernon (from same plate)
- NPG 3976: Unknown woman, formerly known as Nell Gwyn (after)
- Perry, Gill (introduction) Roach, Joseph (appreciation) and West, Shearer (appreciation), The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 2011 to 8 January 2012), p. 67
Controversially, James, Duke of York marries a Catholic, Mary of Modena, daughter of Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena. Parliament passes anti-Catholic legislation, the Test Act, which excludes recusants from public office. Officials are required to take an oath and deny the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.
Art and science
Poet laureate, John Dryden, influenced by the war against Holland, writes Amboyna
, a tragedy about the Amboyna massacre,1623, when English sailors were murdered by Dutch traders in Indonesia. The Chelsea Physic Garden is established by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to train apprentices in plant identification.
War with Holland culminates in the Battle of Texel which effectively exhausts both sides, but results in a strategic Dutch victory. With tension mounting between the allies, lord of the Admiralty, Prince Rupert, blames the unsatisfactory outcome on French admiral d'Estrees, and poor provisions.