Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
(here attributed) Sir Peter Lely (Dutch/English, 1618-1680)
Page with a Crown, circa 1650s-1660s
14.5 x 9 inches ( 36.8 x 22.9 cm.)
Black chalk, with traces of white and pink, on buff paper (which is laid down on paper).
Condition: The right half of one foot that is roughly sketched in with black chalk at lower right corner, as well as the vertical line at right, appears to be the same black chalk as the drawing
No signature or inscriptions.
No watermark has yet been observed
Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe
"Sir Peter Lely: A New Discovery". Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe. Summer 2003
"A New Drawing by Sir Peter Lely", www.KlineGallery.com, from 2003
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"A New Drawing by Sir Peter Lely"
copyright 2003 Fred R. Kline
The discovery of a drawing Page with a Crown, here attributed to Sir Peter Lely, plausibly represents a scene from the Order of the Garter ceremony, suggesting an important addition to Lely’s series of Order of the Garter drawings, comprised of 31 known works made on blue-grey paper in the 1660s during the Restoration of Charles II. Page with a Crown may have been Lely’s first venture into a consideration of the Garter ceremony or a later addendum to the blue-grey series, either idea seems supportable, but its discovery represents nothing less than a major addition to Lely’s drawing oeuvre.
In Page with a Crown, the page holds a royal crown ornamented with French-fashion fleur-de-lis and pearls. It is smaller than the large coronation crown worn by Charles II in the painting by J.M.Wright, although similar fleur-de-lis clearly encircle that crown in thepainting (National Gallery, London). The crown represented in Page may be a special type of carved, painted & gilt wood crown that would have been placed on top of the Sovereign’s Stall at St. George’s Chapel Windsor Castle during the Order of the Garter ceremony. A well-defined Tudor rose, a design used in the regalia of the Order of the Garter, ornaments the blouse of the page and adds support to the Garter idea. A French fashion is clearly evident at the court of Charles II; decorative fleur-de-lis are seen as cape decoration in several of Lely’s Garter series: A Pursuivant (Victoria and Albert Museum) and Two Heralds (Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna).
Many details of the Page find clear stylistic agreement in a range of Lely’s comparative drawings. In Lely’s early 1650s drawing Study for a reclining Female Figure (Millar, Lely, p.11), the unusual simplified treatment of the model’s foot at right matches exactly the advancing foot at the left of the Page. In Sir Peter Lely, Self Portrait, possibly circa early 1650s, (Stainton and White, Drawing in England, p.124), close affinities with the Page are found in the exact careful treatment of hair, the similar pose of looking back over a shoulder with arm bent, and a refined sensitivity in the facial features. In Portrait of a Woman, possibly circa 1650s, (Millar, Lely, #79; p.79), the close resemblance of the woman’s face to the face of the Page suggests a kindred relationship; both drawings echo Lely’s notable feminine facial style with their heavy-lidded eyes and sensitive lips.
Most notably, the Garter drawings of the early 1660s undoubtedly connect stylistically and subjectively to the Page. Lely’s specific treatment of hands, drapery, shadow, outlining, hatching, and poised processional movement in the Page is exactly similar in these stylistic details to Lely’s masterful Garter drawings on blue-grey paper (see the rich selection of Garter drawings in Millar, Lely and Stainton and White, Drawing in England ).
Lely’s interest in the Garter ceremony possibly began before the Restoration with his earlier possession of the oil sketch Procession of the Knights of the Garter (Ashmolean Museum), an oil sketch by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) which was in the collection of Charles I before he was executed in 1649; at Lely’s death the painting was listed in his estate. A page holding a crown does not appear in the Van Dyck sketch. Neither Van Dyck nor Lely is known to have completed a processional painting; nor apparently did Lely use any specific Garter drawings as studies for a painting.
[Note: Early suggestions to Michel Dorigny and Ruben’s Circle did not find comparative support.]