The untimely death of Van Dyck in 1641 does not stop this trend. The place is free for other young foreigners. Pieter van der Faes arrives in London around that time. He uses the pseudonym Peter Lely, easier to pronounce and evoking the nearly heraldic symbol of the lily which he explained by a decorative gable on the house of his father.
Peter Lely was an extremely prolific artist who used many assistants. Friendly and worldly, he led his career without interruption despite the political turmoil of the time from Charles I to the Commonwealth and to the Stuart Restoration.
The legendary request by Cromwell inviting Lely to realize his portrait with all his warts is indirectly a tribute to the realism and psychology in the art of Lely. Later, Charles II let him represent in the guise of Venus the famous official mistress Nell Gwyn.
Peter Lely was also a great draughtsman. On July 6 in London, Sotheby's sells a self-portrait 39 x 31 cm in black chalk subtly enhanced in colors and white, lot 216 estimated £ 600K. It had been kept until now in the descendance of the artist.
The man is young and proud of himself, in an ample clothing, elbows on a table. The face is young with a thin mustache. The lines of his curly natural hair, very long in the fashion of that time, are remarkably accurate. The viewing angle is the same as in another self-portrait without surrounding made around 1641 but the experts prefer dating the drawing for sale from the mid-1650s.
SOLD for £ 870K including premium