Sir Peter Lely

Elizabeth, Countess of Kildare

c.1679

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Sir Peter Lely 1618–1680
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1234 x 1000 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1955
Reference
T00070

Display caption

Elizabeth Jones, eldest daughter of the 1st Earl of Ranelagh, was one of the great beauties of the Restoration court. The orange blossom that she holds, and the cupids on the pot to the left, may refer to her readiness to marry. However, in the late 1670s, when it is thought this painting was made, she was rumoured to be mistress to Charles II. She was not to marry the Earl of Kildare until 1684. Citrus fruits were a rare and expensive food, the plants cultivated by only the wealthiest households.

Gallery label, February 2016

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