The transcribed text is from The Passage of our most drad Soveraigne Lady Quene Elyzabeth, printed by Richard Tottill in January 1559, combined with sections from Robert Fabyan's Concordance of Histories (1559).
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|Anne Boleyn arrives at The Traitors' Gate (by John Millar Watt, 1965)|
Still, it's a handsome picture. You can actually purchase the original watercolor here.
|Barbara Kellermann as Anne Bullen.|
A portrait of Philip II can be seen above Claire Bloom on the right. On the left is a painting of Elisabeth of Valois.
|A painting of Elisabeth of Valois hangs behind the lady-in-waiting holding a lute.|
|Author Marie Louise Bruce at Hever Castle.|
|Uh... what's Anne of Cleves doing here?!|
With Anne Boleyn's renaissance as a feminist icon, grrl power role model, and pop culture heroine/rock star, it may be hard to believe that there was very little written about her by the early 1970's. Prior to the publication of Bruce's book, the most 'recent' offering was Philip W. Sargeant's Anne Boleyn from 1923!
That said, a new study on Anne Boleyn was begging to be written. The timing seemed right, the Tudors were popular again thanks to cinema and television: A Man For All Season (1966), Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), The Six of Wives of Henry VIII (1970), Elizabeth R (1971), and Mary Queen of Scots (1971). 1 As well, the feminist movement of the time had scholars revaluating the role of women in history and the parts they played in shaping events. What better subject than Anne Boleyn, the most famous of Henry VIII's six wives, whose love affair changed
Anne Boleyn, though not an academic work (for that we would have to wait till Eric Ive's brilliant study in 1986), was well researched. Perhaps owing to the paucity of books about Anne Boleyn's life at the time, Bruce went digging for source material - 'a rich store', as she called it. Unlike subsequent historians writing about Anne who would simply rely on easily available secondary sources, accurate or not, Bruce consulted primary accounts. Case in point, it was generally accepted that Anne Boleyn, at her arrest in May 1536, had gone into the
Marie Louise Bruce's attention to accuracy, coupled with a novelistic style of writing, made Anne Boleyn an informative and entertaining read. As she described Anne's infancy:
The new baby was remarkable for three things; the opaqueness of her eyes that could never become anything but darkest brown, a large black mole on her neck and a small deformity on the right hand, where a tiny second nail grew out of one of her fingers. Later when she had grown into a woman, it was to be magnified into a sixth finger by enemies anxious to depict her physically as well as spiritually a monster. But as she lay swaddled in her solid oak cradle besides a curtained and canopied bed in a room heavy with the odours of confinement and the scent of sweet herbs, Anne Boleyn's prospects were as good as gold. 3
Ok, it was like something out of Jean Plaidy, but Bruce was writing for the 'popular history' market, and she was very good at it.
|Not a nice girl: Charlotte Rampling as Anne Boleyn (disguised as 'the Ethiop Queen') |
from the film Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972).
|Left: 'Henry the Eighth and Anne Boleyn', engraving from a design by William Hogarth.|
Right: Jonathan Rhys Meyers (as Henry VIII) and Natalie Dormer (as Anne Boleyn) from The Tudors.
|Left: Francis II and Mary Queen of Scots, by François Clouet.|
Right: Adelaide Kane (as Mary Queen of Scots) and Toby Regbo (as Francis II) from Reign.
|Left: Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, by An Unknown Artist.|
Right: Henry Cavill (as Charles Brandon) from The Tudors.
|Left: Elizabeth I, by An Unknown Artist.|
Right: Cate Blanchett (as Elizabeth I) from Elizabeth - The Golden Age.
|Left: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, by Nicholas Hilliard.|
Right: Joseph Fiennes (as Robert Dudley) from Elizabeth.
|Left: Anne of Cleves, by Barthel de Bruyn|
Right: Jos Stone (as Anne of Cleves) from The Tudors.
|Left: Catherine Howard(?), by Hans Holbein.|
Right: Tamzin Merchant (as Catherine Howard) from The Tudors.
Left: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, by An Unknown Artist. Center: Elizabeth I, by Nicholas Hilliard.Right: Jamie Campbell Bower (as Oxford) and Joely Richardson (as Elizabeth I) from Anonymous.
|Left: Mary Queen of Scots, after Nicholas Hilliard.|
Right: Samantha Morton (as Mary Queen of Scots) from Elizabeth - The Golden Age.
|Left: Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, by An Unknown Artist.|
Right: Hugh Dancy (as Robert Devereux) from Elizabeth I.
|Left: Walter Ralegh, by An Unknown Artist.|
Right: Clive Owen (as Walter Ralegh) from Elizabeth - The Golden Age.
|Crowned and entwined 'H' and 'A' (for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn) on the choir screen|
Print depicting the execution of Anne Boleyn and the marriage of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, by Matthäus Merian (1629-1630) in 'Chronica, Beschreibung der fürnembsten Geschichten'.
|Fig. 1: Jane Seymour, by an Unknown Artist. Whereabouts unknown.|
|Fig. 3: Bianca Sforza, by Bernhard Strigel. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.|