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SIR PETER LELY (1617—168o)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 408 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR PETER LELY (1617—168o) English painter, was born at Soest, Westphalia, in 1617. His father, a military captain and a native of Holland, was originally called van der Vaes; the nickname of Le Lys or Lely, by which he was generally known, was adopted by his son as a surname. After studying for two years under Peter de Grebber, an artist of some note at Haarlem, Lely, induced by the patronage of Charles I. for the fine arts, removed to England in 1641. There he at first painted historical subjects and landscape; he soon became so eminent in his profession as to be employed by Charles to paint his portrait shortly after the death of Vandyck. He afterwards portrayed Cromwell. At the Restoration his genius and agreeable manners won the favour of Charles II., who made him his state-painter, and afterwards knighted him. He formed a famous collection, the best of his time, containing drawings, prints and paintings by the best masters; it sold by auction for no less than £26,000. His great example, however, was Vandyck, whom, in some of his most successful pieces, he almost rivals. Lely's paintings are carefully finished, warm and clear in colouring, and animated in design. The graceful posture of the heads, the delicate rounding of the hands, and the broad folds of the draperies are admired in many of his portraits. The eyes of the ladies are drowsy with languid sentiment, and allegory of a commonplace sort is too freely introduced. His most famous work is a collection of portraits of the ladies of the court of Charles II., known as " the Beauties," formerly at Windsor Castle, and now preserved at Hampton Court Palace. Of his few historical pictures, the best is " Susannah and the Elders," at Burleigh House. His " Jupiter and Europa," in the duke of Devonshire's collection, is also worthy of note. Lely was nearly as famous for crayon work as for oil-painting. Towards the close of his life he often retired to an estate which he had bought at Kew. He died of apoplexy in the Piazza, Covent Garden, London, and was buried in Covent Garden church, where a monument was afterwards erected to his memory. Pepys characterized Lely as " a mighty proud man and full of state." The painter married an English lady of family, and left a son and daughter, who died young. His only disciples were J. Greenhill and J. Buckshorn; he did not, however, allow them to obtain an insight into his special modes of work. (W. M. R.) LE MACON (or LE MAssoN), ROBERT (c. 1365—1443), chancellor of France, was born at Chateau du Loir, Sarthe. He was ennobled in March 1401, and became six years later a councillor of Louis II., duke of Anjou and king of Sicily. A partisan of the house of Orleans, he was appointed chancellor to Isabella of Bavaria on the 29th of January 1414, on the loth of July commissary of the mint, and in June 1416 chancellor to the count of Ponthieu, afterwards Charles VII. On the 16th of August he bought the barony of Treves in Anjou, and henceforward bore the title of seigneur of Treves. When Paris was surprised by the Burgundians on the night of the 29th of May 1418 he assisted Tanguy Duchatel in saving the dauphin. His devotion to the cause of the latter having brought down on him the wrath of John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, he was excluded from the political amnesty known as the peace of Saint Maur des Fosses, though he retained his seat on the king's council. He was by the dauphin's side when John the Fearless was murdered at the bridge of Montereau on the loth of September 1419. He resigned the seals at the beginning of 1422; but he continued to exercise great influence, and in 1426 he effected a reconciliation between the king and the duke of Brittany. Having been captured by Jean de Langeac, seneschal of Auvergne, in August of the same year, he was shut up for three months in the chateau of Usson. When set at liberty he returned to court, where he staunchly supported Joan of Arc against all the cabals that menaced her. It was he who signed the patent of nobility for the Arc family in December 1429. In 1130 he was once more entrusted with an embassy to Brittany.. Having retired from political life in 1436, he died on the 28th of January 1443, and was interred at Treves, where his epitaph may still be seen. See C. Bourcier, " Robert le Masson," in the Revue historique de t'Anjou (1873); and the Nouvelle biographie generale, vol. xxx. (J. V.*) LE MAIRE DE BELGES, JEAN (1473-c. 1525), French poet and historiographer, was born at Bavai in Hainault. He was a nephew of Jean Molinet, and spent some time with him at Valenciennes, where the elder writer held a kind of academy of poetry. Le Maire in his first poems calls himself a disciple of Molinet. In certain aspects he does belong to the school of the grands rhetoriqueurs, but his great merit as a poet is that he emancipated himself from the affectations and puerilities of his masters. This independence of the Flemish school he owed in part perhaps to his studies at the university of Paris and to the study of the Italian poets at Lyons, a centre of the French renascence. In 1503 he was attached to the court of Margaret of Austria, duchess of Savoy, afterwards regent of the Netherlands. For this princess he undertook more than one mission to Rome; he became her librarian and a canon of Valenciennes. To her were addressed his most original poems, Epistres de l'amand verd, the amant verb being a green parrot belonging to his patroness. Le Maire gradually became more French in his sympathies, eventually entering the service of Anne of Brittany. His prose Illustrations des Gaules et singularitez de Troye (1510-1512), largely adapted from Benoit de Sainte More, connects the Burgundian royal house with Hector. Le Maire probably died before 1525. Etienne Pasquier, Ronsard and Du Bellay all acknowledged their indebtedness to him. In his love for antiquity, his sense of rhythm, and even the peculiarities of his vocabulary he anticipated the Pleiade. His works were edited in 1882—1885 by J. Stecher, who wrote the article on him in the Biographic nationale de Belgique.
End of Article: SIR PETER LELY (1617—168o)
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