How good looking were the seventeenth century beauties…

31 August 2009

463

You would be forgiven for thinking, based only on the evidence of their portraits by masters such as Van Dyck and Lely that people in the seventeenth century were vastly better looking than people today.

703

Louise, Duchess of Portsmouth by Mary Beale. The lovely Louise was a French aristocrat who became a spy for Louis XIV and mistress to Charles II.

147

Moll Davies by Mary Beale. Moll was a celebrated actress of the time who vied with Nell Gwynn for Charles II’s attentions.

46

Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland by Mary Beale. Besides Nell Gwynne, Barbara was the best known and longest serving of Charles II’s mistresses.

515

Isabella Willis by John Closterman.

Cooper Miniature medium

Unknown woman by Alexander Cooper.

1038

Lady Isabella Bentinck by Charles Dagar, one of the greatest beauties of the age.

685

Jane Hyde, Countess of Clarendon and Rochester by Michael Dahl another great beauty of the age.

1174a

This painting reminds me of Roger in Karleen Koen’s novels.

324

Jane, Mrs Myddleton by Henri Gascar, another famous beauty who was pursued by James II. She was rumoured to be horribly pretentious and to smell really nasty though!

851

Louise, Duchess of Portsmouth by Henri Gascar.

225

Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland by Henri Gascar.

850

Louise, Duchess of Portsmouth by Henri Gascar.

486

Jenny Myddleton, daughter of smelly, pretentious Jane Myddleton by Henri Gascar. She was reputed to be even more beautiful than her mother.

1215

Frances Jennings, Duchess of Tyconnel by Henri Gascar. Frances was known as La Belle Jennings and was one of the greatest beauties at the court of Charles II.

1586

Portrait of a lady by John Greenhill.

1083

Portrait of a lady by Adriaen Hanneman.

194

Portrait of one of Catherine of Braganza’s ladies in waiting by Jacob Huysmans.

1543

Portrait of a lady as Mary Magdalene by Kneller.

687

Moll Davies by Lely.


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