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Title Portrait of Elizabeth Lady Monson
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Lely, Peter (Dutch painter and draftsman, 1618-1680, active in England)
Date Earliest about 1655
Date Latest about 1665
Description Elizabeth, Viscountess Monson of Castlemaine (1613-1695, née Reresby) was a Royalist whilst her third husband, the Viscount, was a Parliamentarian. In an attempt to change his views, she is said to have tied him, naked to a bedpost and 'thrashed him soundly'. John Reresby's memoirs describe her as 'a very notable woman, only she was a little too masculine'. The eighteenth-century frame refers to this colourful story with its verse from Hudibras (1664) by Samuel Butler and decoration of cat o' nine tails and presiding figure of justice. Her husband was tried as a Regicide in 1661and died in the Fleet prison. Lady Monson was rewarded for her loyalty after the Restoration, being thanked publicly in Quarter Sessions. She later married for a fourth time to Sir Adam Felton, Bart., of Playford, Sussex.
Current Accession Number 1953P1
Former Accession Number P.1´53
Inscription front ll 'Sir Peter Lely Pinx/Elizabeth, Lady Monson, daughter of Sir George Reresby, Bart.'
Subject portrait (Monson, Elizabeth Lady)
Measurements 126.0 x 103 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by the Public Picture Gallery Fund 1953.
Provenance Gage family; Gage family sale, Hengrave Hall, Hamptons (auction house), 7 August 1897, no.587, bought by John Wood; Sir John Wood; Sir John Wood sale, Hengrave Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Knight, Frank and Rutley, 23 September 1952, lot 1767, bought by Leggatt Brothers.
Principal Exhibitions Two Centuries of English Painting, British Council, Prague and Bratislava, 1969, cat. no. 90, Vienna, cat. no. 38.
Publications Farrer, E., Portraits in Suffolk Houses (West), 1908, p. 180; Collins, Baker, C. H., Lely and the Stuart Portrait Painters, vol. 2, 1912, p. 125; Woodall, M., The Lady with the Whip, The Saturday Book 1953, p. 246; Beckett, R. B., Sir Peter Lely, 1951, p. 53; Catalogue of Paintings in Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 1960.
Notes The frame was probably made around 1765.

Inscribed on the stretcher, 'She was the grandmother of Elizabeth Rookwood, wife of Sir John Gage Esq'.

Collins Baker dates this painting to 1661, that is two or three years before the famous series of 'Court Beauties' at Hampton Court.

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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