Portrait of a Young Lady, possibly Miss Wharton

about 1660



Peter Lely, English, 1618-1680

Object Info

Object: painting
Currently on view
Object ID: TL-17960


Oil paint on canvas


Promised Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust

More Info


image height: 50 1/2 in, 128.2700 cm; image width: 40 1/2 in, 102.8700 cm; frame height: 57 in, 144.7800 cm; frame width: 47 1/2 in, 120.65 cm; frame depth: 2 3/4 in, 6.985 cm


European and American Art Before 1900


European and American Art Before 1900-European Art

Known Provenance

Possibly James Christie (1730–1803); by descent; sale, Christie’s, London, July 11, 1997, lot 5; from which acquired by William M. B. Berger and Bernadette Johnson Berger, Denver; Berger Collection Educational Trust; on loan to the Denver Art Museum, TL-17960. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum and we will post information as it becomes available. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.


Sir Peter Lely 
Dutch, 1616–1680
Portrait of a Young Lady, possibly Miss Wharton, early 1660s
Oil paint on canvas
Promised Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, TL-17960 

Extended Info

Sir Peter Lely was the leading portrait painter of his day. His sensuous brushwork and lush colors perfectly suited the taste for luxury and licentiousness in post-Cromwell England. Lely’s society ladies were shown dressed in flowing gowns of silk and satin, revealing much and sometimes all of the bosom. The youthful Miss Wharton is almost demure by contrast. Instead of a languid, seductive pose, Miss Wharton sits upright facing the viewer. The pose is reminiscent of Renaissance Madonnas, a visual connection Lely may have wished to make in the viewer’s mind for its message of innocence and purity.

Exhibition History

  • “Treasures from the Berger Collection: British Paintings 1400-2000” — Denver Art Museum, 10/2/2014 – 9/9/2018