17th Century Women --Part 2

F - G - H - I - J

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Note: to view the full-scale image, right-click on the reduced picture, and choose "view image"

Anne, Lady Fanshawe.jpgAnne, Lady Fanshawe. Famous diarist.

Marie-Madeleine de la Fayette. The best woman writer of the period, the author of the famous novel "Princesse de Cleves", the founder of the European psychological novel.

Margaret Fell. She is the tallest young girl in white on this etching by Robert Spence. Margaret Fell is famous because she is considered the mother of Quakerism. During the beginnings of the Quaker movement, she provided much of the financial backing it needed, as well as opening the home of her first husband, Judge Fell, to travelling Quakers. After the death of her first husband she married George Fox (the founder of Quakerism). She was instrumental in ensuring that women's ministry was heard and respected, was a strong advocate for women governing the affairs (both financial and spiritual) of the Meeting, and held the entire movement together after the death of George Fox.

Celia Fiennes. She was famous for her travellings on horse around England at the end of XVII - the beginning of
XVIII'th century. She was never married and was content with her lifestyle. She was an author of one of the first guide books about England.

Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661 - 1720). One of the earliest published women poets in England. {1} She is also delightful! Her poetry sparkles with witty commentary and playful humour. She writes with clear conviction of what she sees and experiences. Her voice is direct, personal and immediate. It has been suggested that she may be the best woman poet in England prior to the nineteenth century.

Anne Finche, Viscountess Conway (1631-1678 or 79). I know what you are thinking: is there any difference between Anne Finch (the poet in the previous picture) and Anne Finche? The answer is yes! They may have almost the same name and the same smile, but there is no relationship. She became a quaker later in life after spending most of her time writing. One of her co-workers was Francis Mercury van Helmont, son of the last of the famous alchemists, Jean Baptiste van Helmont. She suffered excrutiating headaches, which forced her to decide to journey to France to undergo a surgery known as the trepan. (Without anesthetics, the skull is opened to allow pressure to be released). Scrunch!

Mademoiselle de Fontagnes, age 19. You better believe it: here is yet another royal mistress of Louis XIV. We are led to believe that being a royal mistress was a sure passport to fame. (See other 3 mistresses of Louis XIV)

Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) shown in a self-portrait. Painter born in Bologna, Italy, the daughter of the artist Prospero Fontana who trained her. A painter of portraits and mythological works, she was a prolific painter despite being the beautiful mother of eleven children. She was summoned by Pope Clement VIII in order to paint The Martyrdom of St. Stephen for the basilica of San PaoloFuori. She was the first woman to receive commissions for public paintings and was elected to the Roman Academy.

Mary Frith, alias Moll Cutpurse -- most notorious female member of 17th-century England's underworld, a friend of highwaymen and a receiver of stolen goods. A woman of masculine vigour, who not unfrequently assumed a manís attire. She was a notorious thief and cutpurse, who once attacked General Fairfax on Hounslow Heath, for which she was sent to Newgate. She escaped by bribery, and died at last of dropsy in the seventy-fifth year of her age on July 26, 1659 in London during Charles I 's reign.  Moll can "lie o' both sides o' the bed" because she can switch her identity. She can see clearly the injustices that women face. She argues with Laxton, in fact, that women sleep around because they are poor. She describes to Laxton the situation of the women, dressed as men, "who were hauled before the Alderman's court and accused of "lewd" behavior" .

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 - 1653) shown in a self portrait as the Allegory of Painting (1630s). Italian painter, daughter of the well-known Roman artist Orazio Gentileschi. She was one of the first women artists to achieve recognition in the male-dominated world of post-Renaissance art. She was the first woman to paint major historical and religious artwork, whereas women of her era were usually constrained to less lofty genre painting. Born in Rome in 1593, she received her early tuition from her father, but after being refused admission to art academies, she continued her training under a friend of her father, Agostino Tassi. In 1612, her father brought suit against Tassi charging him with raping Artemisia and there followed a seven month, highly publicised trial, the Gentileschi trial, which is the central theme of a recent controversial French film "Artemisia" directed by Agnes Merlet and released in 1998. The trauma of the rape and of the subsequent trial strongly influenced Artemisia's painting. Her graphic depictions may be seen as cathartic and symbolic attempts to deal with the hurt done to her.

Marie Jars le Gournay (1566-1645). An adopted daughter of Michel Montaigne, she was a highly educated woman who edited his "Essays" and opened one of the first salons in France. Her own writings were concerned with women's position, she corresponded with Anna-Maria van Schurman and Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia, this network is now irreverantly called the "Female Republic of Letters".

Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg (1633-1694), famous German poetess from the century (Violetta claims her poems are ... the best!)

Nell Gwyn. Popular comedienne at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. The Elisa Doolitlle of the 17th Century, she started her route to fame as a flowergirl in London, but she is famously remembered as the courtesan of Charles II, who was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1660-1685. Nell Gwyn bore Charles II two sons, Charles and James Beauclerk. Nell's son, Charles became Duke of St Albans. Clearly Henri Higgins wasn't around to stop all this nonsense!

Anna Ovena Hoyers (1584-1655), the daughter of the astronomer Hans Oven. She spoke Latin and Greek and read Hebraic. She wrote religious and political pamphlets, and also poems and songs. In addition, she was a composer.

Margaret Hughes. In a performance of Othello, produced in 1660, starred an actress by the name of Margaret Hughes in the role of Desdemona. This production is of particular importance because it marked the first time a woman was accepted on the English stage. Before this, all the characters, whether male or female, were played exclusively by men! Remarkable fact!!!

Arabella Hunt. Lute player and soprano. Extremely beautiful woman. She sang in several Purcell operas. In 1680 she got married, and her "husband" turned to be a woman, Amy Poulter!!! But then, perhaps Arabella was aware of that. They lived together for about half a year, and their marriage was annulled in 1682.

Henrietta-Maria - queen of England, wife to the famous Charles I, who was beheaded. Her Catholic faith and Catholic connections were one of the causes of the English Civil war and the subsequent revolution. She also was an amateur actress.

Henriette-Anne Duchesse d'Orleans (Henriette of England) -- the first wife of the Duke of Orleans (before Liselotte, see picture), the beloved sister of Charles II and an English "agent" at French court. She was very popular for her charm.
Madame de La Fayette (see picture) was on friendly terms with her, admired her and wrote a book about her life. Henriette was probably poisoned.

Henriette Charlotte von Pollnitz (1670 - 1722) -- A correspondent of Leibniz and a maid-in-waiting of Sophie-Charlotte, electress of Brandenburg (see picture).

Anne Hutchinson - an American woman preacher, she dared to speak against the local male preacher, so at her 1637 trial Anne was banished from Massachussets.

Lucy Hutchinson - an educated English woman, she wrote a biography of her husband, Colonel Hutchinson, which contains an interesting description of life in 17'th-century England.

Anne Hyde -- the first wife of James, future English king James II. She didn't survive to become a queen, but her daughters, Mary and Anne Stuart, took up that task.

Esther Inglis -- a professional Scotch woman, a calligrapher from the beginning of the century.

Infante Isabella of Spain. Married to Archduke Albrecht. Albrecht and Isabella were appointed governors of the Spanish Netherlands and employed famous artists such as Rubens (see below). They were the only governors generally admired by the Flemish people during the lengthy Spanish occupation.

Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1664? - 1729) - enjoyed a dazzling career as harpsichordist and composer in the Paris of Louis XIV. She composed three books of cantatas, an opera and a Te Deum, sonatas and many popular airs and songs. This is the newly discovered portrait by Francois de Troy.

Anne Killigrew. A poet and an artist of the Restoration. She was praised by John Dryden in one of his odes. This is an etching of her self-portrait.

Kristin(a) Wasa, (first) Queen of Sweden. Age 34. Known of her is that she ruled "like a man" which probably means she was much worse than a man! At least, that was my(limited) interpretation of that comment until it was pointed out to me by a dear Swedish contributor that she was extremely intelligentand gifted. She wasn't loved by her mother and was raised to despise women. She wrote 1300 maximes and became popular in Sweden because of her pursuit of peace. It is still not clear why she abdicated, moved to Rome and became a catholic.

Margaretha Susanna von Kuntsch (1651-1716) German poetess, wrote primarily about the deaths of her children.

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