Venetian ceruse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Venetian Ceruse)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pale-faced Elizabeth I of England has been thought to wear Venetian Ceruse

Venetian Ceruse, also known as Spirits of Saturn, was a 16th-century cosmetic used as a skin whitener. It was in great demand and considered the best available at that time.

The cosmetic's use of white lead as a pigment caused lead poisoning, damaging the skin and causing hair loss. Usage over an extended period could cause death.

People thought to have worn it[edit]

Elizabeth I of England is popularly imagined to have been a notable user, although critics Anna Riehl and Kate Maltby have argued that little historical evidence exists to support this claim.[1][2][3]

Ceruse caused the death of Maria Coventry, Countess of Coventry, aged 27, in 1760.[citation needed] Ceruse caused blemishes, upon which she applied more of the substance, causing even more blemishes. Eventually she died of lead poisoning.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Not Panicking Ltd (13 March 2008). "h2g2 - Fashion Victims - Edited Entry".
  2. ^
  3. ^