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William Faithorne (1616-1691)

Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine dated 1666

Engraving (formed from two impressions cut and collaged), with touches of pen and ink | 36.1 x 28.1 cm | RCIN 663138

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Charles II's mistress Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine and later Duchess of Cleveland, was the most powerful woman at court between 1660 and 1670, bearing the king five children. As Peter Lely's muse, she appears in at least ten of his paintings, and this engraving adapts a particularly beguiling portrait likely to have been made for the king. Samuel Pepys was captivated by Lady Castlemaine and purchased three impressions of this print alone. Cat. 166