portrait of elizabeth willoughby countess of ranelagh circa 1662 studio of sir peter lely

Portrait of Elizabeth Willoughby, Countess of Ranelagh, circa 1662; Studio of Sir Peter Lely.


| $15,912 USD | €13,540 EUR

Item Ref



Oil on canvas in giltwood frame.
The Hon. ELIZABETH WILLOUGHBY was born in circa 1633 the daughter of Francis Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby of Parnham and Lady Elizabeth Cecil, daughter of the 1st Viscount Wimbledon. Her father succeeded to the title Lord Willoughby of Parnham in infancy after the death of his older brother Henry in 1617.
Willoughby was a strong political force at a time when politics in Britain were at their most fraught. He had been an early supporter of the Parliamentarian cause during the Civil War, first opposing Charles I over the levying the ship money tax, a means for the monarch to levy additional taxes without the permission of Parliament and then once again opposing the King with the Bishops War, as he was hesitant to
go to war with Scotland.
Despite fighting for the Parliamentarians as Commander-in-Chief for Lincolnshire, Willoughby’s relations with the Parliamentarians began to fray in 1644 and he fled with his family to the Netherlands in 1647 to join the Royalist cause. Willoughby had been made the Governor of Barbados for the Royalists in May 1650 and again the Governor of Saint Kitts,
Nevis, Montserrat and Antigua in 1660. On his death he left his considerable land holdings in the Caribbean to his 4 daughters, while his title passed to his younger brother, William.
Willoughby had failed to have a surviving male heir, with his youngest child William dying in infancy. Consequently, his three daughters, Diana, Frances and Elizabeth were all heiresses of his estate and thus considered attractive marriage options. Elizabeth married Richard Jones, son
of 2nd Viscount Ranelagh on 28 October 1662 with her husband succeeding to his father’s title as Viscount in 1670 and then later becoming the
1st Earl of Ranelagh on the 11 December 1677.
This portrait of Elizabeth is presumably the pendant for a portrait of her husband also by the Studio of Lely now in the collection of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, an institution her husband helped to build. Both works can be stylistically dated to circa 1662/3 so it was almost certainly painted shortly after her marriage. This is also supported by the garland of flowers she is depicted holding, as in this case they are most likely used to symbolize the fertility of a young wife. She bore four daughters and one son, who died in infancy.
Elizabeth Willoughby died on the 1 August 1695 after which her husband remarried Lady Margaret Cecil, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Salisbury with whom he had no issue.
SIZE: Framed, 69 x 50.25 inches.
PROVENANCE:*Private Collection, England.
*Christie's London, 7 December 1945 (lot113)
*Collection of Hans Roger Madol, London, (the famous history author and attache to the Grand Duke of Luxembourg).
*Private Collection, Luxembourg.
Internal Ref: Ranelagh


Height = 175 cm (69")
Width = 128 cm (51")
Depth = 6 cm (3")

We accept online payments for this item:

Email about this item:

View Similar

Select a category: