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Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680) was Charles IIs Principal Painter and the outstanding artistic figure of Restoration England. When Lely arrived in England in the early 1640s his ambition was to be a painter of narrative scenes and not to work as a portraitist. However, the subject pictures did not find favor with many English patrons and he produced less than thirty. As Lelys friend Richard Lovelace explained, all they wanted was their own dull counterfeits or portraits of their mistresses. Thus, Lely was obliged to turn to portraiture to make a living. Yet, his poetic pictures of figures in idyllic landscapes are among the most beautiful paintings made in 17th-century England and this catalog will be the first in-depth look at this important chapter of this major painters career.