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The Ugly Duchess


Alice meets the Duchess.

It's often interesting when art and medicine meet.

The inspiration for illustrator John Tenniel's Duchess in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of the most popular paintings in the National Gallery - "the Ugly Duchess". Many people have wondered if the lady was born with her looks.

It is now suggested that the sitter suffered from Paget's disease, which was named after Sir James Paget, the British surgeon who first described it in the late 19th century.

The Ugly Duchess will be part of the new exhibit Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian, which opens October 15 at the National Gallery.

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