Sarah Bradford

My Last Duchess

Isabella de’ Medici: The Glorious Life and Tragic End of a Renaissance Princess


Faber & Faber 397pp £20 order from our bookshop

The death of Isabella de’ Medici, favourite daughter of Cosimo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was as squalid as her life had been glittering. She was strangled in a particularly unpleasant and elaborate way by her husband, the enormously fat and unprincipled Paolo Giordano Orsini, who, it was rumoured, finished her off by literally squashing the life out of her. Her distorted body, swollen by decomposition and blackened by the bruising of her face and torso, was exhibited in an open coffin in a Florentine church. Prurient observers who lifted her skirts noted that the lower half of her body was contrastingly white.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,