Lady Justine

oil on panel. Private Collection.
Available from the artist.
Lady Justine (1568-1639)
The illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Mollawray, her early years are a mystery before a brief reconciliation with her father before his death, and subsequent arranged marriage to an abusive Lord Lieutenant 40 years older than her. After her husband died — rumored to have been poisoned — and remarkably able to keep his estate, she presided over her tenants and lands to the best of her ability and was found to be charming and gracious. The only thing ever that could be said that was odd, was her penchant for lining up her staff every morning and spanking each one with her hair brush; she reasoned this was punishment for the sins they might commit that day. While this caused a great turnover in maids and housekeepers, much of her staff remained faithful, and seemed to look forward to this bit of protocol.

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