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Sir Peter Lely, 1618–1680

Sir Ralph Bankes

ca. 1660
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
46 7/8 x 38 3/4 inches (119.1 x 98.4 cm)

Inscribed on dog collar, lower right: "Sr RB"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
column (architectural element) | costume | landscape | man | portrait
Associated People:
Bankes, Sir Ralph (1631–1677), courtier of the restored Charles II and knighted member of the Privy Chamber
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Sir Ralph Bankes (1631–77/79) trained in the law and became a politician and gentleman of the Privy Chamber under Charles II. After the Restoration, he sought to re-establish a dynasty that had been badly shaken by the Civil War. The medieval family home, Corfe Castle, in Dorset, had been destroyed by parliamentary forces, but, rather than rebuild it, he chose to construct a new house, Kingston Lacy (completed in 1665), which stands today. In Peter Lely’s portrait, Bankes appears as a gentleman of taste and leisure; indeed, he was famous for art collecting, a pastime that allied him closely with Lely, who was a close friend. But the imposing head of the English mastiff, a dog known for its watchfulness (its collar is inscribed “Sr R B”), and the presence of the column, an attribute of upstanding character, also speak to Bankes’s ambitions as the stalwart protector of his family’s legacy.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 144-145, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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