PROPERTY FROM AN ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTION
George Vertue, the eminent eighteenth century diarist and antiquarian, visited William Nicholas, the grandson of the sitter, at West Horsley House, Guildford on 19 August 1744. There he noted ‘some good modern family pictures’ including several by Lely: Portrait of Lord Clarendon, a portrait of the sitter’s father, the sitter’s brother, Sir William Compton (1625 – 1663), also an eminent Royalist commander,1 and the series of portraits of the Nicholas family. Vertue records this portrait as ‘Lady Penelope Nicholas ½ PL (monogram) a fine picture.’ The portrait of her father-in-law is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the companion portrait to this picture, depicting her husband, is in the Birmingham City Art Gallery.2 Vertue records the portrait of Sir John as having been painted in 1662, and presumably the portrait of Lady Penelope was completed at the same time.
1 Now in the collection of the National Trust, hanging at Ham House, London.
2 Acc. no. 1937P891; see City Museum and Art Gallery, Catalogue of Paintings, Birmingham 1960, p. 91, cat. no. 891'37. For an image see R.B. Beckett, Lely, London 1951, p. 55, cat. no. 381, reproduced pl. 73.
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