Legendary Mistresses in Art History Nell Gwyn (Gwynne)

“Pray good people be civil, I am the Protestant whore” was Nell Gwyn’s cheeky retort to the masses pushing around her coach in the mistaken belief that it was that of the Duchess of Portsmouth, the Catholic Louise de Keroualle.


‘Pretty, witty Nell’ was perhaps the best known and remembered mistress of King Charles II.

She was one of many (there were 13 in all during his lifetime), but she was the least ‘greedy’ of them all. When he lay dying he begged his heir, the Duke of York, “not to let poor Nellie starve”.