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After Sir Peter Lely (1618-80); published by Richard Tompson (d. 1693)

Mary Davis c.1678-9

Mezzotint | 35.0 x 25.7 cm | RCIN 653410

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The actress Mary ‘Moll’ Davis came to the king’s attention in 1667 when she performed for the court at Tunbridge Wells. Moll was renowned for her musical talents and is here shown playing the guitar. Charles II also played the instrument, receiving lessons from the Italian Francesco Corbetta, whose arrival at court in the 1660s started a craze for guitar music. One courtier noted that the king's enjoyment of Corbetta's compositions ‘had made the guitar so fashionable that all the world performed on it, whether badly or well’. Cat. 169