Recently, I paid attention to a lady in a painting holding an animal or a toy in her right hand... And I decided to look for info. Hope it will be interesting not only to me. That is a flea catcher!
In the Middle ages, the Catholic Church exterminated all cats considering them as companions of witches. Cats were over, rats and plague fleas had spread throughout Europe. So, fleas had spread over houses and settled on people. Ugh! And since then it'd became fashionable to keep small animals like dogs, martens or ferrets everywhere, they became favourite accessories — they bit all insects with their teeth. Here's where the modern fashion comes from!
Francesco Parmigianino (1503-1540). Anthea
Paolo Caliari (Veronese), 1551
Nicholas Hilliard. Elizabeth I Tudor with an Ermine
Hans Holbein the Younger. The Portrait of a Lady with a Squirrel and Starling
Lavinia Fontana. The Noble Lady
Thanks everyone for reading!