Someone had to do it
Scribbling woman kindly points towards my post on Gwen John's painting of her cleaning lady, which she links with Claire over on Early Modern Print Culture writing about an exhibition that I saw at the National Portrait Gallery last year, of Below Stairs: 400 years of Servants Portraits.
My favourite was a portrait of Bridget Holmes, a 96-year-old servant in the English royal household. Her job was being a "necessary woman", who did, as you'd expect, the necessary - emptying the chamber pots. Her "career" ran from Charles I to William and Mary.
There's a description of the painting and painter here, and the Guardian's account here.
While I'm on the subject of art, please allow me a little celebration that my favourite won the Turner Prize tonight, even if I did predict another result.