Hayls, John (DNB00)

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HAYLS or HALES, JOHN (d. 1679), portrait-painter, was a contemporary and rival in portrait-painting of Sir Peter Lely and in miniature-painting of S. Cooper [q. v.] Vertue (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 23069) records that ‘Samuel Cooper, limner, tryd at oylpainting; Mr. Hayles seeing that, turned to limning, and told Cooper that if he quitted limning, he would imploy himself that way; for which reason Cooper kept to limning.’ Hayls had considerable merit as a portrait-painter. Pepys records in his diary for 15 Feb. 1665–6: ‘Mr. Hales begun my wife's portrait in the posture we saw one of my Lady Peters, like a St. Katharine.’ Pepys was so pleased with this picture, for which he paid 14l., that he sat to Hayls himself, and also induced his father, Thomas Pepys, to sit. Pepys's own portrait, in an Indian gown with a scroll of music, is now in the National Portrait Gallery. Pepys also says that Hayls painted the actor Joseph Harris as Henry V. At Woburn Abbey there are portraits of Colonel John Russell and of Lady Diana Russell by Hayls. His portrait of Thomas Flatman the poet has been engraved. He is stated to have been a skilful copyist of Vandyck. Hayls lived for some years in Southampton Street, Bloomsbury, but subsequently moved to a house in Long Acre, where he died suddenly in 1679. A limning of Hayls by J. Hoskins was in Colonel Seymour's collection, a drawing from which by Vertue is now in the print room at the British Museum.

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting; Vertue's manuscripts, Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 23068–70; Buckeridge's Supplement to De Piles's Lives of the Painters; Pepys's Diary.]

L. C.