Anthony van Dyck (after)
Flemish, British 1599–1641
Lucia, Countess of Carlisle c. 1660–63
engraving; from the ‘Countesses’ series
Colin Holden Charitable Trust
This print belongs to a collection of twelve engravings designed to be collected as a series of ‘beauties’: the suite advertised in a 1708 edition of the London Gazette as being ‘very proper to adorn rooms, closets etc’.
The Countess of Carlisle enjoyed a level of infamy in the English court, her charms and exploits immortalised in verse by numerous poets of the era. Cavalier poet John Suckling’s imagined sighting of the Countess in Upon My Lady Carlisle’s Walking in Hampton Court vividly describes dangerous impulses provoked by her beauty:
I was undoing all she wore,
And had she walked but one turn more,
Eve in her first state had not been
More naked or more plainly seen.