Nayanna, Countess of Luc

Private Collection

Nayanna of Alia, Countess of Luc, (1527-1586)
The chance to marry ‘well’ came thanks to the lucrative family lumber business, and two uncles who served as tutors to a succession of royal children. Marrying the second Earl of Luc and becoming mistress of Barrole Hall, she had a son – fulfilling her expectation. The countess conducted her life autonomously; the earl was hardly to be found, a ghost moving in the background of her life while he hunted, traveled, and philandered. While she kept the chattels of Barrole Hall in tact, her additions to the home became a triumph of original bad taste. The madness of her egomania revealed itself in mixes of Oriental, Greek, Venetian renaissance, bronze statues draped with silver jacquard, and her collection of bizarre wax dolls. She gained notoriety later as a widow: her majordomo of 30 years appeared next her to bedside stark naked and professed his love, she replied, ‘don’t be stupid, and put that awful thing away!’ He promptly retrieved a gun and shot himself. She was most distressed about replacing her rare, and now stained, Oriental rug.

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