A portrait of King Charles II’s mistress, Barbara Villiers, is put into place ahead of The Wild, The Beautiful and the Damned exhibition which opened at Hampton Court Palace earlier this month. The portrait, which dates from about 1662, was painted by Sir Peter Lely – he also painted a picture King Charles II’s other principal mistress, Nell Gwyn, which is being shown together with the Villiers portrait for the first time. The exhibition, which focuses on the beauty, mistresses and debauchery of the Stuart Court, spans the reigns of the Stuarts from Charles II to Queen Anne and looks at how kings, queens and courtesans “swept away the Puritanical solemnity of the mid-17th century, and attempted to rewrite the moral code of social behaviour”. Runs until 30th September (admission is included in entry ticket; free to Historic Royal Palaces members). There are late openings on the first Monday of each month and note that the exhibition includes adult content. For more, see http://bit.ly/HvyiOE.
PICTURE: Richard Lea-Hair/newsteam.