Funeral Poems, Readings, Music, Quotations & Thoughts

Venetia Digby on her Deathbed

Perhaps a corpse was not such a terrible thing in days gone by. Sometimes when there was a death in the household a painter was called to record the scene. So it was when the beautiful 33 year old Venetia, wife of  Sir Kenelm Digby was found dead by her servant one morning in 1633. The painter called was the Dutch Master Van Dyke.

It was and is rare for an otherwise healthy 33 year old to suffer a sudden and unexpected death so there has been much speculation over the years as to the cause of Venetia's death. She may have been poisoned by the exotic ingredients of quack ointments and potions she was taking both to preserve her beauty and to ward off the plague which was then in London.

Venetia Digby Deathbed

The Dulwich Picture Gallery

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