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SIR PETER LELY, or Peter Van der Faes, was born in 1617, at Soest, in Westphalia. He was placed, at what age does not appear, under Peter Grebber, at Haerlem, an artist of considerable merit, whose school was in high esteem. Lely continued two years with him. By some authors, he is thought to have come to England after the restoration. But Allan Cunningham, whose spirited criticism, on the state of the fine arts during the reigns of Charles I. and II., and during the intermediate period of the usurpation, I avail myself of, relates an anecdote, which proves that Lely must have been in England much earlier, (probably in 1641), and have acquired a considerable reputation in Cromwell's time. When Cromwell sat to Lely, he said, "I desire you will use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all those roughnesses, pimples, warts, and every thing as you see me; otherwise, I never will pay one farthing for it." Charles II. appointed him state painter; and when the softer customers of that monarch's palace sat to Lely, they laid his talents under no such restrictions as Cromwell did. He seemed to consider himself as chief painter at the court of Paphos. No one knew better than he how to paint
"The sleepy eye, that spoke the melting soul;"
to imitate the fascinating undulations of female bosoms, or give voluptuous glow and solid softness to youthful flesh and blood. The beauties of Windsor, as they are called, kindled up old Pepys, who says in his Memoirs, that he called at Mr. Lely's, who was "a mighty proud man, and full of state," where he saw the Duchess of Cleveland "sitting in a chair, dressed in white satin;" also Lady Castlemain, "a most blessed picture, of which he was resolved to have a copy." The lapse of a century and a half, has purified the air round those gay and merry dames, and we can look on Lady Castlemain and her companions as calmly as on the Venus de Medicis. "The bugle eye ball, and the cheek of cream" have lost their magic now.
Lely, however, did not wholly dedicate his pencil to the condescending beauties of Charles' court; he has preserved the features of statesmen, who contrived to walk upright even in those slippery times: nor did he neglect the men of genius, who flourished in his day. He painted Clarendon, Cowley, Butler,
Selden, and Otway. He formed a gallery of the works of Van Dyck and other eminent artists, which was sold at his death for twenty six thousand pounds. He maintained the state of a gentleman, and preserved the dignity due to art in his intercourse with the court. Of the numerous works which he painted-for he was a diligent and laborious man-upwards of seventy are still in the island,-portraits of ladies of rank or note, and of men of birth or genius.
To the coming of Kneller some writers have attributed the death of Lely. But he died suddenly; and jealousy and mortification are more slow in their operations. The new artist was indeed a man of talent, but there was nothing of that high order about him, which could be supposed capable of sickening the soul, or shortening the life of the other. Thus far Cunningham. The merits of Lely may be thus summarily stated. He is especially eminent for his talent in giving a pleasing representation of female beauty. His pencil was light and delicate; his colouring very beautiful; the tone warm, clear, and full; and his execution often spirited. The airs of his heads and figures are pleasing and graceful; and the attitudes easy and unaffected. The hands of his figures are painted with remarkable care and delicacy. His draperies are arranged, with an appearance of negligence, in broad folds. He sometimes gave his pictures a landscape back ground in a style peculiarly calculated to give relief to his figures. He occasionally painted historical pictures, one of the best of which is a representation of Susannah and the Elders, at Burleigh House. His most celebrated performance is a series of portraits of the beauties of the court of Charles II., preserved at Hampton Court: a list of which may be acceptable in this place;-Anne, Duchess of York, daughter of the Earl of Clarendon, Lady Byron, Princess Mary, Queen Catharine, Duchess of Richmond, Nell Gwynne, Countess of Rochester, Countess of Northumberland, Lady Denham, Countess of Sutherland, the Countess de Grammont, Duchess of Cleveland, Countess of Ossory, Lady Whitmore, and Mrs. Middleton. Lely equally excelled as a crayon painter; and his portraits in that style are esteemed equal, and by some are preferred to his paintings in oil. He died in England in 1680, at the age of 63.
There are also two pictures of superior pretensions, by Marlow. One represents a very large galley (Pope's?), filled with men and oars, and having a standard, argent, two pastoral staves in saltire, in chief a crown, or. The water is dark, but transparent; and the buildings are thrown out with very sharp edges. In the second, is seen a bridge of seven arches, over a river running between houses. The sky is splendidly bright and transparent. There is something in the style and colouring of this artist, to remind us of Le Nain. These pictures are called in a manuscript catalogue, "A view near Naples," and "A view in Florence;" and were purchased for £30 each.
There is on a table in this room, a model of the former Castle and its outworks, cut in wood, and according to scale, by the Rev. Mr. Mounsey.
Passing through double doors, the inner of which are folding, we enter the Library,—a room of proportions sufficiently large to admit of a favourable display of the character given to it in its gilded, panelled roof, and its deeply recessed, elaborately moulded windows; yet not so vast, as to preclude the idea of genuine comfort, to even a solitary student. It has been objected to this room, that it is very gloomy, in consequence of its aspect into the court-yard, which is overshadowed on the opposite side by the central and flag towers, of greater elevation than other portions of the Castle. I cannot appreciate this objection as at all applicable to a room, the very design of which is, to concentrate the attention within its walls, rather than permit a diversion of the thoughts to external beauties. In my view,
a much more serious objection may be made to the room— that it is, what no library ought to be, a thoroughfare from the principal to the private apartments. It is in the very essence of a place of study, that it be abstracted from the ordinary communications of every-day life. And, that we may dispose of all the real or supposed defects, before we proceed to notice its architectural beauties and literary treasures, I must say, that not only the proportions, but the architectural character of this room, demanded a different roof. It certainly should have been vaulted and groined, as well as ribbed. Ribs, panels, bosses, quatrefoils, and shields, all elaborately painted and gilded, which on a vault add immensely to its richness, magnificence, and beauty, become heavy accessories to a flat roof. But, take it for all in all, it is a very sweet room, as I think will appear from the following more detailed description.
It is 47 feet long, 23 feet 9 inches wide, and 18 feet high; and is lighted from the court by four handsome windows, the soffits and sides of which are covered with cinquefoil-headed panels. These windows are also hooded with mouldings springing from corbels, both most gorgeously decorated with carved and gilded flowers and fruit. The bosses at the intersection of the ribs of the roof, are decorated alternately with flowers, í hs, ducal coronet, and an eagle with wings displayed. In each of the four corners of the roof, there is a square panel, having a shield contained within a quatrefoil: 1. Manners, with augmentation, impaling Howard. 2. Manners, &c., impaling Beaufort. 3. Manners, &c., impaling Somerset (Marquis of Granby). 4. Manners, &c., with an escocheon of pretence for Sutton. The first, second, and fourth, are encircled with the motto of the garter, and are mounted with a ducal coronet. In a multfoil over the folding doors at each end, are the ducal coronet, cap of dignity, crest and motto of the garter.
In each of the two centre windows, there is a rich piece of stained glass, of the size of an ordinary pane, the subject of which has not, that I can discover, any connexion with the history of the Castle; and is, perhaps, valued only on account of the spirited delineation and splendid, colouring. Over the first figure there is a scroll, indicating the name of the person represented, and the dateBom Stein Langedogge, 1510. The figure is in armour, with a bear-skin cap, wreath, sable and argent, and a plume of feathers; and is holding a heavy battle-axe. At his feet, a shield, gules, three leaves pendant from a collar argent, buckle and gem, or. Above the shield, a helmet and gorget of mail; crest, a Moor's head, with a turban, on which is planted a cross between two horns.
At the feet of the other figure, a scroll, on which is inscribed hans batshalet or pt buchsen Meister der stat bern, 1561. He is in mail armour, cap and plumes; and at his feet a shield, gules, a cross issuing out of a star, argent.
The shelves for the books are, with the exception of the breaks for the windows, doors, and fireplace, ranged in a double series, against both sides and ends of the room. They are of oak, and lettered and numbered on ivory labels. The lower series consists of lock-up cases for such literary treasures as require careful and infrequent handling, such as MSS., original drawings by the great masters, illustrated works, and valuable editions of standard writers. A marble slab runs the whole extent of the top of these cases, for busts, and other articles of vertu. The upper cases are of a height sufficiently accessible, without a gallery; which, in a room of almost any dimensions, appears an unsightly feature, and in this, would have been altogether impracticable.
The number of volumes, in this and the anteroom,