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Charlotte Lee (FitzRoy), Countess of Litchfield (1664-1718)

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Charlotte Lee (FitzRoy), Countess of Litchfield (1664-1718)

After: Sir Godfrey Kneller (German, 1646-1723)

Engraver: Isaac Beckett (English, 1652 - 1688)

Date: c. 1685
Medium: Mezzotint
Overall: 16 11/16 x 9 7/16in. (42.4 x 24cm)
Image: 15 5/8 x 9 1/4in. (39.7 x 23.5cm)
Plate: 16 1/2 x 9 1/2in. (41.9 x 24.1cm)
Credit Line: Owen D. Young Collection. Gift of Mrs. Josephine Young Case and Mr. Richard Young
Object number: 66.184
Label Text
Charlotte Lee was the illegitimate daughter of King Charles II of England and Scotland. Her mother, Barbara Villiers, 1st Duchess of Cleveland (1640-1709), was one of the King's most notorious mistresses. Lee's full-length portrait, based on a design by Godfrey Kneller, the leading portrait painter in England during the late-17the and early 18th centuries, shows her standing in an architectural setting with her left elbow resting on a plinth ornamented with a relief carving of a woman holding a cornucopia brimming with fruit, the traditional symbol of fertility, and her right arm extending towards a dog, the symbol of loyalty. The print was engraved by Isaac Beckett, one of England's most talented early mezzotint engravers. The Museum's impression is of relative poor quality; it lacks the rich black tonalities the finest mezzotints have, probably because the copper plate was worn when it was printed. Also, the paper on which the image was printed has darkened over time.

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