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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Catherine Fisher

Flourished mid-16th century, Norwich, England

The correct name of this person is CATHERINE TISHEM.

The principal source for Catherine Tishem’s life is a worshipful tribute to her son, Jan Gruter, written by one of his pupils, Balthasar Venator. In 1558, Tishem (Thysmans) married Gualtheius Gruter, burgomaster of Antwerp. Ten years later, they were living in the Dutch exile community of Norwich in England, Protestant refugees from the Spanish Netherlands. According to Venator, Tishem was a remarkably erudite woman, fluent in Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and English. She supervised the education of her son, who became a celebrated classical scholar.