Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Geillis Duncan

signature image

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Geillis Duncan
Date of birth unknown; d. 1591, North Berwick, Scotland

Geillis Duncan, a maidservant in North Berwick, Scotland, was accused by her employer of witchcraft after he observed her skill in curing the ill, which he deemed unnaturally miraculous. Her employer, a deputy bailiff, took charge of the examination. She was arrested in 1589, confessed under torture, and executed. Duncan named many other witches and the event sparked a series of trials and executions that are now known as the North Berwick witch trials, which were sanctioned by King James VI.

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