Samuel Pepys

by John Hayls

National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 211

Pepys recorded in his diary on 17 March 1666: “This day I began to sit, and he will make me, I think, a very fine picture. He promises it shall be as good as my wife's, and I sit to have it full of shadows, and do almost break my neck looking over my shoulder to make the posture for him to work by.” He sat again on 20, 23, 28 and 30 March. On this last date he recorded: “To Hales's, and there sat till almost quite darke upon working my gowne, which I hired to be drawne in; an Indian gown.” And on April 11, ”To Hales's where there was nothing to be found to be done more to my picture, but the music, which now pleases me mightily, it being painted true.“ The music he holds is his own setting of a lyric by Sir William Davenant, “Beauty, retire.” Pepys paid Hayls £14 for the picture and 25s for the frame on 16 May.