Catherine, Lady Brooke

Painted in or around 1643 this picture has been attributed to Theodore Russell. Catherine was the wife of Lord Brooke the prominent parliamentarian and general who was killed by a royalist sniper whilst directing the siege of Lichfield. This portrait must have been finished after his death as Catherine wears widows weeds and holds a posy of significant flowers. She is wearing a black bodice over a white linen smock with a doubled kerchief  which is tied at the throat with bandstrings and a gossamer-thin black linen  hood or chaperone on her head. She also wears a white linen coif tied with strings under her chin. Picture courtesy of Roy Precious Antiques and Fine Art. It’s still for sale as as the time of posting.

Catherine Lady Brooke

The posy included pink laurel which was associated with honour, triumph and eternal life. I think there may also be some rosemary here for remembrance. I’m not sure what forms the pinked black edge to the bodice. It looks like a very fine black linen but if it’s part of the bodice it’s tricky to tell. Notice how white and fine her linen is though. This was a wealthy lady.

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This close up shows the ties used to keep her coif and kerchief in place. Interestingly you can also see the top of her smock which is much lower than the neck line of her kerchief. Usually both are of about  the same height, but in this case the kerchief is tied very high up her throat.

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One Comment to “Catherine, Lady Brooke”

  1. Just to update you Lady Catherine (or to be historically accurate Katherine) Brooke has now been sold and I count myself very lucky to have acquired her and returned her to the Midlands. The fine sheen on the fabric is more evident on the original and I suspect it was silk – she was an extremely wealthy woman, both by birth and marriage and certainly could afford silk. Good website by the way

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