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Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester

6 of 1059 portraits matching 'catherine'

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Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester

by Peter Cross
watercolour on vellum, circa 1685-1690
3 1/8 in. x 2 3/8 in. (79 mm x 60 mm) oval
Purchased, 1913
Primary Collection
NPG 1696

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Peter Cross (circa 1645-1724), Artist. Artist or producer of 4 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 74
  • Macleod, Catharine; Alexander, Julia Marciari, Painted Ladies: Women at the Court of Charles II, 2001 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 11 October 2001 to 6 January 2002), p. 203
  • 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
  • Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 47 Read entry

    Lady Dorchester was entertaining and vivacious, rich but not beautiful, and became for many years a mistress of the Duke of York, later James II. She also had a mordant but indelicate wit, as when meeting the Duchess of Portsmouth and the Countess of Orkney at the court of George I, she said, 'who would have thought that we three whores should have met here' (G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, IV, p 407).

    It is easy to see here how Cross's monogram PC could be mistaken for LC, leading to the confusion which lasted from the eighteenth century till 1935, when the V&A Museum bought a miniature of William Gore clearly signed and dated P. Cross fecit 1670 (John Murdoch, Seventeenth-century English Miniatures in the Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1997, no.166). This was followed by another, of Sir James Ogilvy, signed Peeter Cross. Cross's distinctive red, blue and green stipple can be seen, in NPG 6280, 1696 and 4692, in the shading on the faces.

Subject/Themeback to top

Events of 1685back to top

Current affairs

Charles II dies, his heir, Catholic brother, James II, succeeds to the throne. Despite deep distrust by many Protestants, he initially experiences unexpected popularity.
James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, leads the Monmouth Rebellion ambitious to seize the throne. Following his defeat at Sedgemoor, Monmouth is executed at Tower Hill.

Art and science

Opera Universa, by physician Thomas Sydenham, considered the father of English medicine, is published in London.
Organist, Henry Purcell composes, My heart is inditing, for the coronation of James II and his queen, Mary of Modena.
Writer on dentistry, Charles Allen publishes the earliest known English book on dentistry.


The Edict of Fontainebleau is issued by Louis XIV revoking the Edict of Nantes which gave Huguenots a right to practice their religion, free from persecution. Although Huguenots had steadily left France since the Dragonnades in 1681, this edict essentially ended official religious toleration in France.

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