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Lely and the Alderman

Anecdotes Home




Sir Peter Lely, a famous painter in the reign of
Charles I., agreed for the price of a full-length, which he was to draw for
a rich alderman of London, who was not indebted to nature either for shape
or face. When the picture was finished, the alderman endeavoured to beat
down the price; alleging that if he did not purchase it, it would lie on
the painter's hands. "That's a mistake," replied Sir Peter, "for I can sell
it at double the price I demand."--"How can that be?" says the alderman;
"for it is like nobody but myself."--"But I will draw a tail to it, and
then it will be an excellent monkey." The alderman, to prevent exposure,
paid the sum agreed for, and carried off the picture.





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