Catherine Stone is seated in the garden of a grand estate. Behind her we see a large sculpted bust on a pedestal. She wears a dark blue dress and a considerable quantity of pearls.
Catherine was the daughter of Sir John Carleton, first baronet and his wife Anne Hoghton. She married John Stone (born 1626), who served as MP for Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Catherine’s half-brother by her mother’s first marriage was Sir John Cotton (1615-1689) of Madingley Hall, an early 16th-century property in Cambridgeshire. Cotton was evidently responsible for commissioning these works from Lely as part of a series of ten three-quarter-length portraits from Lely for Madingley. All depicted his relatives and friends and apparently all were signed, inscribed with the sitters’ names and dated 1660 (although several have yet to be traced).~
Catherine’s status as the half-sister of Cotton, Lely’s patron, may explain why more care has been taken in the production of her portrait than that of her husband (see GAC 3719). The superior quality of this portrait is also reflected in the price of the works when they passed through Christie’s in 1910. John Stone sold for £89, 5 shillings, while Catherine fetched £136, 10 shillings.
Peter Lely was born in Westphalia in Germany. He studied in Haarlem under Pieter de Grebber, becoming a Master of the Haarlem Guild in 1637. He relocated to England in 1641, where he succeeded Sir Antony Van Dyck as Principal Painter to Charles II. Lely presided over a large studio and employed several assistants. He frequently painted only the head of the sitter himself, before passing the work to an assistant to complete. The work of his assistants is often mistakenly attributed to Lely himself. He was knighted in 1680, shortly before his death that year. At the time of his death, over 100 canvases remained in his studio, many copies executed by assistants. His assistants also produced independent work in the style of their master.
bl: M:rs Stone Dau:r & Coh:rss / of S:r Jn:o Carleton / K:t & B.t Wife to / Jn:o Stone Esq:r / P. Lely Pinx:t / 1660
Collection at Madingley Hall, Cambridgeshire; probably by descent to Dame Maria Susanna King (died 1871; wife of Vice-Admiral Sir Richard King, died 1834; daughter of Admiral Sir Charles Cotton); sold through 'The Madingley Pictures' sale, Messrs Foster, Pall Mall, London, on 14 June 1871 (Lot 87), as 'Mrs. Stone, wife of the last named, and daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Carlton'; 'The Property of a Gentleman'; by whom sold through Christie's, London, 'British and Foreign Historical Portraits' sale, on 19 November 1910 (Lot 95), for £136.10.0; from which sale purchased by 'Carlisle'; collection of politician, traveller and Viceroy of India George Nathaniel Curzon, Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (1859-1925) of 1 Carlton House Terrace, London; inherited by Grace Elvina Trilla Curzon (née Hinds), Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston (1877-1958); by whom sold through Christie's, London, on 10 July 1931 (Lot 129), for 157.10.0; from which sale purchased by 'Freeman'; with Leggatt Bros.; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in March 1957
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