Portrait of Aphra Behn by Sir Peter Lely

Description

This is a portrait of the playwright and poet Aphra Behn (1640?–1689), by the renowned court painter Sir Peter Lely (1618–1680). Behn’s dress and hairstyle indicate that the likeness was made in the early 1670s.

Full title:
Aphra Behn
Created:
c. 1670
Format:
Painting / Image
Creator:
Peter Lely
Copyright:
© Yale Center for British Art
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, USA/ The Bridgeman Art Library
Shelfmark:
B2002.15

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The Rover: An introduction

Article by:
Elaine Hobby
Themes:
Satire and humour, Gender and sexuality, Politics and religion, Theatre and entertainment

Aphra Behn's The Rover engages with the social, political and sexual conditions of the 17th century, as well as with theatrical traditions of carnival and misrule. Elaine Hobby introduces Behn's play and explores how it was first performed and received.

An introduction to Restoration comedy

Article by:
Diane Maybank
Themes:
Satire and humour, Politics and religion, Theatre and entertainment

Diane Maybank introduces the characters, conventions and historical context of Restoration comedy, and explores what the genre has to say about gender, courtship and class.

Oroonoko: Historical and political contexts

Article by:
Janet Todd
Themes:
Travel, colonialism and slavery, Rise of the novel, Politics and religion

As a young woman, Aphra Behn was a spy for Charles II's government in Antwerp and probably in South America. Two decades later, she used these experiences to write Oroonoko, the story of a prince kidnapped from West Africa, enslaved and taken to a British colony in South America. Janet Todd explains how this extraordinary novella was shaped by the historical and political contexts and beliefs of Behn's time.

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Related teachers' notes

Thumbnail for Teacher's notes of Aphra Behn, The Rover - showing Act 1, Scene 1

Aphra Behn, The Rover: Carnival

These activities allow students to explore how Aphra Behn uses character types and tropes associated with carnival in The Rover. Students can relate this to the play’s context of production, and to comic theories relating to the carnivalesque.

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Oroonoko

Created by: Aphra Behn

Oroonoko overview Oroonoko is a short novel, styling itself ‘a true history’, set in the English colony ...

The Rover

Created by: Aphra Behn

The Rover overview One of Aphra Behn’s most successful and celebrated plays, The Rover is a classic ...