Portrait of Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, with her son by Sir Peter Lely

Barbara Villiers was Charles II's leading mistress in the early years of his reign and became Duchess of Cleveland in 1670.


Oil on canvas
124.7 x 102 cm
Art Fund grant:
£40,000 ( Total: £147,000)
Acquired in:
Alfred Bader Fine Arts

This portrait depicts the King's mistress with her eldest son by the King, Charles Fitzroy, later created Duke of Southampton and then Duke of Cleveland. It is the most audacious of Lely's role portraits as it depicts the mistress and illegitimate son as Madonna and Child. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Ladislaus Bloch, Vienna; Frederick Muller, Amsterdam (auction house), 1905; ...; Messrs Shepherd; Messrs Dowdeswell before 1912; ...; Galerie Fischer, Lucern, 1990; Walter Küng; Alfred Bader Fine Arts, 2001.

Venue details

National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place, LONDON London WC2H 0HE 020 7306 0055 www.npg.org.uk

Entry details

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