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Dashing but Doomed: the Duke of Monmouth

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[This is available as a podcast on iTunes] He was unquestionably one of the handsomest of the Stuart men. Tall, dark, and seductive, James Crofts, later James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, was born in Rotterdam, the Dutch Republic, on the 9th of April 1649, to an exiled King Charles II and his mistress Lucy Walter. James had a… Read on

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Meet My Characters: William & Mary

William III at the Battle of the Boyne by Jan Wyck. © Government Art Collection

My Facebook friend, Francine Howarth invited me to partake in the fun of a blog/tag, which entails a questionnaire for a WIP (work in progress). The instigator of the on-going blog/tag is Debra Browne. Please have a look at the websites of my fellow invitees: Alison Stuart, Anna Belfrage.  Questionnaire: 1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or… Read on

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“New Worlds”: A Biased Look at the 1680s

New Worlds Title

Many of you know that I was eagerly anticipating this programme ever since I heard about it. I am always so pleased when filmmakers decide to set a story in the 17th-century. The more programmes and films that are made about this time period will make it as popular as the Tudors are. I thought The Devil’s Whore… Read on

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17th-Century Book Club Launch!

The Country Wife

This week, The Seventeenth Century Lady saw our Twitter page reach 2,600 followers and our Facebook page reached 800 likes. So, I was thinking…there sure are a lot of us now who love the 17th-century, so why don’t we get a bit more interactive? I’m hoping to turn Bawdy House Banter into a thriving forum, and when my… Read on

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The Serpent’s Kiss: Review

The Serpent's Kiss DVD menu

I bought a copy of The Serpent’s Kiss on my most recent trip to Blackpool on Tuesday. I remember watching it when I was a teenager back in 2002 (and in full Ewan McGregor crush phase). It is very similar to The Draughtsman’s Contract, which is not my favourite film because I found it too weird. This, however, is… Read on

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Aston Hall, Birmingham

Aston Hall. Instagram picture by Andrea Zuvich

On Friday I had the great honour of visiting the gorgeous, great Jacobean house, Aston Hall. What is Aston Hall, and why is it important? Well, let’s start off with the introduction from the official guide book, shall we? Aston Hall is a magnificent Grade I Listed Jacobean mansion sitting in a Grade II Listed Park…Constructed between 1618… Read on

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The Importance of Library Etiquette


I’m sad that I even need to write on this topic, but I feel I must. Ask any of my closest friends, and they will tell you I am a very patient, ‘long-suffering’ person, so if I am compelled to speak out about something it is only because I’ve been pushed too far. As a person who spends… Read on

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Blakesley Hall, Birmingham

Blakesley Hall, Photo: Andrea Zuvich

I had a glorious trip to the lovely Blakesley Hall yesterday and I had a truly spiffing time. The sun was out, it wasn’t raining or blowing a gale, so I was well pleased. I was, as some of you know from my tweets, quite disappointed to discover that most historic houses here in the Birmingham area are… Read on

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Newton and the Counterfeiter: Review

Newton & Counterfeiter

I came across this book by chance in a Waterstones bookshop in Blackpool late last month, and I was so taken by the opening page (which is what I always read before deciding upon a book. I don’t care about a book cover or the blurb – I like to decide for myself with the writing itself), that… Read on

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Francis Bacon


One of my favourite essayists is Francis Bacon (1561–1626), & it irritates me to no end that people think I’m referring to the weird modern artist (1909–1992) when I’m talking about him. The artist is now, and I think lamentably, more popular than the first famous Francis Bacon; and so my aim with this article is to make you… Read on

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The Musketeers: Review

The Musketeers Title

Last night, the BBC premiered the newest film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s historical fiction, The Three Musketeers. If you are a fan of the book, please don’t expect the plot of this version to follow that, as it is substantially different. It began well, as everyone looked pretty filthy (kudos to the crew) and we first see the… Read on

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The Flea: One’s Constant Companion


I’m not being funny. Fleas had a notoriously important impact on life in the 17th-century (hello, Great Plague!) and many deaths stemmed from their parasitic habits. I remember at Paleis Het Loo in The Netherlands, the audio guide stated that fleas and lice were a problem for everyone, regardless of their place in society. I already knew this, but it… Read on

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The Beauty of van Bijlert

BIJLERT, Jan van.
"Musical Company"
Oil on panel, 97 x 115 cm. Private collection, via Web Gallery of Art

Jan van Bijlert was a Dutch Golden Age painter who lived from 1598 – 1671. He was a major artist from the Utrecht school and he lived in Rome for some time. I like to think you can see a bit of an Italian influence in his works, which sometimes reminds me of the works of Artemisia Gentileschi or… Read on

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“My Dearest Minette: Letters between Charles II and his sister”


Ruth Norrington’s beautifully-bound and carefully selected compilation of letters between King Charles II and his sister, Henrietta, Duchesse d’Orleans is a wonderful read for anyone remotely interested in the Restoration court and the colourful people associated with it. The book begins with an excellent, concise short history of the time shortly before and after the birth of Charles… Read on

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Giveaway Time!

His Last Mistress Book Cover

Happy New Year! To start us off, I want to run our second giveaway. Enter NOW for your chance to win a signed paperback copy of “His Last Mistress”! Here’s how to enter: In ONE sentence – what is your favourite thing about the 17th century? Use the comment function below to enter. This giveaway ends on Friday the… Read on

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The 17th Century Lady Looks Back at 2013

History Live 2013

I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by, but when I stop to think about everything that’s happened in it, it’s no wonder! I’d like to thank those of you who have supported me and The Seventeenth Century Lady since the beginning in 2011 – and to those who have recently started looking at this site… Read on

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The Death of Queen Mary II

Mary II, Photo taken by Andrea Zuvich at In Fine Style at Buckingham Palace.

This post is dedicated to Mary, a controversial, intelligent, beautiful, ill-fated, yet beloved Queen, died on this day the 28th of December, 1694. She was only thirty-two years old.   I say that she was controversial because her reign was, and still is, a subject of controversy. You see, William and Mary were invited to take the throne… Read on

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Prince Rupert of the Rhine: Romantic Hero, Scientist, Cavalier & Lover

Prince Rupert, Count Palatinate. by Gerrit van Honthorst
oil on panel, feigned oval, circa 1641-1642
29 1/4 in. x 23 1/4 in. (743 mm x 591 mm)
Purchased, 1966
NPG 4519. © The National Portrait Gallery, London

There is little doubt that Rupert of the Rhine is still capable of attracting admirers – even after being dead for over 300 years. Not only is he known as one of the Handsomest Men of the 17th Century, but he also was an excellent soldier, scientist, artist and more. And he happened to be a Prince, too.… Read on

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Marie Adélaïde of Savoy, Dauphine of France

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Marie Adélaïde of Savoy, Dauphine of France, was born on the 6th day of December, 1685. 1685 was, of course, a big year for the 17th century, and this Seventeenth Century Lady’s birth is often overlooked. She had a short life, sadly, for she died only 26 years later. I’ve been quite intrigued by this young lady, who… Read on

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Save van Dyck’s Self-Portrait!

Self-portrait by Van Dyck, 1640/41
© Philip Mould & Co.

I’m always keen on a worthy historical cause, and this one came to my attention a few days ago in an email from the National Portrait Gallery. Van Dyck, as many readers of this website already know, was a very important Flemish painter during the early-to-middle part of the 17th Century and famously produced many portraits of the… Read on

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Jacobean, Jacobites, and Jacobins…

© The Schiller Institute.

OK! I’ve had one too many messages from people who are confusing these terms, so I thought it’s time to clear these things up! It’s easy to get confused as these words have Jacob, but they are very, very different things. So, it’s Seventeenth Century Lady to the rescue! *chuckle* JACOBEAN: Of, or pertaining to, the reign of James… Read on

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Charles Landseer & the Seventeenth Century

The Eve of the Battle of Edge Hill, 1642

Charles Landseer was an artist who lived from 1799-1879. Landseer, though sadly not as popular as his painter brother Edwin (famous for his works for Queen Victoria), generally painted scenes depicting historical events or those from literature and each of his works vividly bring stories to life. Take for example this piece, “The Eve of the Battle of… Read on

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The Stuart Vampire Hath Been Unleased!

The Stuart Vampire

Happy Halloween to you, fellow history lovers! Do you love the macabre? Do you love vampire stories? Join Henry Stuart, as he goes on his journey from human duke to creature of the night. Will he remain a creature of the Darkness, or will he turn to the Light? There is a dark romance in this fictional work.This… Read on

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