Sir Peter Lely, an English painter, born in Soest, Westphalia, in 1617, died in England in 1680. His family name was originally Van Der Faes, but his father assumed the name of Lely. He was instructed in painting by Peter Greb-ber of Haarlem, and at 20 years of age had acquired reputation by his landscapes and portraits. Visiting England in 1641, he determined to follow the example of Vandyke, and thenceforth devoted himself almost exclusively to portrait painting, in which he soon surpassed all his contemporaries. The prince of Orange introduced him in 1643 to the notice of Charles I., who sat to him for his portrait. During the commonwealth he remained in England, and is said to have painted the portrait of Cromwell, who warned him that unless he made a true likeness, with all the roughnesses, pimples, and warts as he saw them, he should not receive a farthing for the picture. At the restoration he became court painter to Charles II., who made him a knight, and he acquired wealth. He excelled in female portraits, and painted a celebrated series of the " Beauties of the Court of Charles II.," preserved at Hampton Court. The landscapes in his pieces were generally executed by other hands.

He occasionally painted historical pictures, of which the best known is "Susannah and the Elders," at Burleigh house.