British Centuries

Mother Louse – English, late 17th century

A wonderful late 17th century three-quarter length portrait of Mother Louse, reputedly the last woman in England to wear a ruff. Mother Louse of Louse Hall, is shown holding an ale tankard and a pitcher. Mother Louse was the subject of a satirical poem which accompanied an etching of the same period. Both the etching and this painting also feature a coat of arms featuring three lice and a tankard, the etching additionally bearing the motto “Three Lice Passant.” Louse Hall (as it was known from about 1547) was an asylum for the poor, though originally it was Gosford Hospital in Oxfordshire, established in the 12th century. Louse Hall subsequently became an alehouse kept by Mother Louse as its alewife.

Details and Pricing

  • Media: Oil on canvas
  • Size: 70 x 54 cm
  • Price: £2,800

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