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"Woman Wearing Chastity Suit"

Angelo Bronzenoze

Another Bronzenoze from our collection. According to the story the husband of Lady Constance Du Pre, the subject of this portrait, was an extremely jealous man. Whenever he had to leave town for any length of time he assured himself of his spouse's fidelity by locking her into this ingenious extension of the notorious chastity belt. Only one key was made, which the Duke Umberto kept upon his person at all times.


There came a time when the Duke was called to war by the King. Realizing that he would be gone for many years, and would perhaps never return, he took pity on his wife and entrusted the key to the chastity suit to Cardinal Wooley, a saintly man of the cloth, with the instructions that if he were not to return after seven years, the Lady Constance should be released from her bondage.


With that the Duke heaved a heavy sigh and rode off at the head of his troops. He had not gone 500 yards before the good Cardinal, his vestments disheveled, galloped up upon his palfrey to say that the Duke, in his haste, had given him the wrong key.


Bronzenoze used the same breastplate shown here on one of his later Madonnas.


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