Lady Catherine

8×10″ oil on panel.
Private Collection.

Catherine (1478 – 1557)
Born to a family of minor aristocrats living in poverty, her match with a well-respected judge was a happy one for several years. She had taken it in stride the day she found her husband and his valet in bed, asking for a fair divorce and custody of their two young daughters. When he refused, she made it known that to remain married to her would become quite expensive. Her immediate string of lovers included rogues, addicts, and artists whom she offered gifts such as a rug or oil painting as they departed company. The home had become bare of furnishings and heirlooms at an alarming rate. One night after 7 months the staff informed the judge all the stemware and teacups had been taken, by Catherine’s last visitor, and his wine was served in a gravy boat. The judge granted the divorce shortly after.

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