The Windsor Beauties are a famous collection of paintings by Sir Peter Lely, painted in the early to mid-1660s. The name stems from the original location of the collection, which was housed in the Queen's bedchamber in Windsor Castle. They can now be seen at Hampton Court Palace.
The Royal Collection includes 10 portraits as part of the set. They show the women at three-quarter length in various poses. Some women wear current fashions; others are draped in loose robes intended to evoke classical antiquity.
List of "Beauties"
The original set of "Beauties" painted by Lely include, depending on the source:
- Frances, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox (née Stuart; 1648-1702)
- Elizabeth, Countess de Grammont (née Hamilton; 1641-1708)
- Jane Myddelton (née Needham; 1646–92)
- Margaret, Lady Denham (née Brooke; c. 1647-67) (named Elizabeth in the cited printed sources [and in 18th century prints] but Margaret at the Royal Collection)
- Frances, Lady Whitmore (née Brooke; died 1690)
- Mary, Countess of Falmouth and Dorset (née Bagot; 1645–79) (named Elizabeth in the cited printed sources [and in 18th century prints] but Mary at the Royal Collection)
- Henrietta, Countess of Rochester (née Boyle; 1646-1687)
- Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland (née Villiers; c. 1641-1709)
- Anne, Countess of Sunderland (née Digby; c. 1646-1715)
- Elizabeth, Countess of Northumberland (née Wriothesley; 1646-1690)
- Emilia Butler, Countess of Ossory (Melville omits this name, citing Ernest Law that the portrait previously identified by this name is actually Lady Falmouth.)
- Madame Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans
The portraits for the first 10 names are included at the Royal Collection website as "probably commissioned by Anne Hyde, Duchess of York."
The Duchess of York does not figure in the above list often; but since she was largely responsible for the collection (and choosing the sitters), she was also painted as part of the series. Possibly a little flattery from Lely was responsible for this.
Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, c. 1665, as Minerva
- Hampton Court Beauties, a later set by Sir Godfrey Kneller
- Gallery of Beauties, a still later set in Munich