Lely’s Portrait of Judge Jeffreys

After discussing the attribution of the Prince Rupert, Lord Huntercombe continues his rivalry with Smethyck: “I was even able to carry the war into Smethyck’s country by enquiring whether he felt absolutely confident of the supposed portrait of Judge Jeffreys, attributed to Lely, on loan from his own gallery.” [CCR 165/169]

George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem  John Michael Wright, 1673 oil on canvas, 1673 47 3/4 in. x 39 3/4 in. oil on canvas 48 x 40 in Purchased, 1989 NPG 6047 NPG 6047 © National Portrait Gallery, London by Creative Commons license

George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem
John Michael Wright, 1673
 oil on canvas 48 x 40 in
© National Portrait Gallery, London
by Creative Commons license

George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem, (1645 – 1689), also known as “The Hanging Judge”, was a Welsh judge who was appointed Lord Chief Justice in 1683 and later became Lord Chancellor to King James II.

Self Portrait Sir Peter Lely, circa 1660 oil on canvas, 43 x 35 in. NPG 3897 © National Portrait Gallery, London by Creative Commons license

Self Portrait
Sir Peter Lely, circa 1660
oil on canvas, 43 x 35 in.
NPG 3897
© National Portrait Gallery, London
by Creative Commons license

Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680) was born in Germany of Dutch descent. He moved to London about 1640 and, after the deaths of Van Dyck in 1641 and Dobson in 1646, became the leading portraitist of the day. He painted Charles I and Oliver Cromwell. When Charles II ascended to the throne with Restoration in 1660, Lely became the court painter. He had a prolific workshop, so that for some works that bear his name, how much of the paint he personally applied to the canvas is in question.  The BBC Your Paintings Website is aware of 609 Lely works currently in Britain. At times it seems that he painted everyone of importance in Restoration London. Jeffreys was a prominient contemporary, but we have not found a Lely portrait of Jeffreys.

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