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The Story of Beatrice Cenci

Beatrice Cenci, painted on porcelain and set on a Whitby Jet brooch. The young Roman noblewoman, along with her mother, was a victim of abuse, imprisonment and rape by her father Francesco Cenci, a vicious and violent Roman nobleman of great wealth and influence. After several failed attempts to gain her freedom, she eventually planned to murder her father with the help of her brother, mother and a few others. On Sept. 9. 1598 he was assassinated and although they planned it to look like an accident, suspicions were soon raised, leading to the torture and confessions of the group. Despite a huge outcry for mercy and pleas to pardon Beatrice, she was sentenced to death by Pope Clement VIII and beheaded in 1599 at the age of 22. All Cenci lands and property were declared forfeit and subsequently became the property of the Pope. For years to come, public sympathy shrouded her memory and she became the subject of poems, dramas, novels and portraiture, just like the one seen in this 19th c. Jet brooch.


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