The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned

Private Collection
Portrait of Nell Gwyn as Venus c.1668, Peter Lely
Beauty, debauchery and decadent art at the late-Stuart court is the subject of this exhibition. The show explores the meaning of beauty and the lives and loves of the courtesans and libertines who lived and died in the Stuart court during the reigns of Charles II, James II, William III, Mary II and Queen Anne. At the heart of the show are portraits of Charles II's principal mistresses, including Nell Gwyn and Barbara Villiers, along with portraits of key figures including Peter Lely's 'Windsor Beauties' and fashion accessories from the period. Led through the state apartments, visitors will learn about the lives of virtuous and corrupt inhabitants of court, as well as fashions and beauty treatments of the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries.
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