Venetia, Lady Digby (1600-1633), Beauty and wife of Sir Kenelm Digby
Sitter in 4 portraits
Noted for her beauty and intelligence, Venetia Stanley was the wife of the diplomat and author, Sir Kenelm Digby. She was the subject of much scandal, and was said to have been the mistress of Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset while betrothed to Digby, who was abroad at the time. The tale of the Digby's romance and the restoration of Venetia's virtue are detailed in her husband's memoirs, Loose Fantasies. After nine years of marriage, she died suddenly - quite possibly after drinking her husband's 'viper wine', a concoction reputed to preserve beauty. Digby mourned her loss extravagantly.