Friday 20 November 2015

Keith Michell (1926 - 2015)

A farewell to actor Keith Michell who sadly passed away today.


Keith Michell (as Henry VIII) and Charlotte Rampling (as Anne Boleyn)
from the film Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972)

Keith Michell with the cast of Henry VIII and His Six Wives.
From bottom left clockwise: Jane Asher (Jane Seymour), Jenny Bos (Anne of Cleves),
Frances Cuka (Catherine of Aragon), Charlotte Rampling (Anne Boleyn),
Barbara Leigh-Hunt (Catherine Parr), and Lynne Frederick (Catherine Howard).

Saturday 19 September 2015

Keith Michell sings!

With modern day ballads on one side, and Tudor compositions on the other.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

The lovely Charlotte Rampling

As Anne Boleyn in the film Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972):



Sunday 16 August 2015

Who ya gonna call?! GHOSTBUSTERS!


Is this the ghost of Anne Boleyn? Visitor to beheaded Queen's childhood home spots ghoulish hand in a castle corridor

By Jenny Awford for MailOnline
Published:  3 August 2015 
  • Liam Archer, 26, claims to have captured ghost of Anne Boleyn on camera
  • He took a picture of fireplace at queen's childhood home Hever Castle
  • When he got home he spotted ghoulish hand pointing towards chimney
  • He is convinced it is spirit of beheaded queen who is said to haunt castle

A tourist who visited the childhood home of beheaded queen Anne Boleyn has captured a creepy image of what he claims is her ghost stalking the corridors.
Liam Archer, 26, was exploring Hever Castle in Kent with his family when he took the picture which appears to show a ghoulish hand hovering in the left hand side of the frame.
He spent the afternoon taking pictures around the former home of Henry VIII's second wife including one of an ornate fireplace in a dimly-lit living room in the 13th Century Kent castle. But it was only when he returned home and studied the photo that he spotted what looks like a hovering hand with a long finger apparently pointing towards the chimney.

Mr Archer, from Lewes, East Sussex, who did not believe in ghosts before taking the picture, is convinced it is the spirit of the young queen, who is said to haunt the castle. He said: 'In the prayer room there was a fog or a mist hovering around but I didn't think much of it at the time. 'I felt like an unknown force was pulling me through the castle. I couldn't see it but I could definitely feel it. 'I didn't know what to make of it because I didn't believe in ghosts at this point. But I am now confident it is her. 'It wasn't until three months after that I realised what I had taken a picture of. 'I believe there is something important historically inside the fireplace she wants me to recover.'
This is not the first time the queen's ghost has been spotted in the grounds of the castle, which later came into the possession of King Henry's fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Her ghostly apparition has been seen wandering the gardens of the castle, often drifting over the bridge that crosses the River Eden. Anne's ghost is also said to appear each Christmas at Hever Castle. She is believed to manifest beneath a great oak tree where Anne and Henry courted.
American billionaire William Waldorf Astor bought and restored the castle in 1903 and it is now owned by Broadland Properties Limited. The estate is now run as a conference centre, but the castle and grounds are open to the public.

Friday 24 July 2015

'Vivre et Mourir'

Sheet music for Vivre et Mourir.

Note: The title (Wish Now Was Then) with lyrics by Don Black
appear in the song sheet, but not in the actual film.
Probably the best musical score composed for a Tudor-themed film was for Mary Queen of Scots (1971).
The composer was the great John Barry. Among his other celebrated compositions were the soundtracks for The Lion in Winter, Born Free, and several James Bond movies.
One of the loveliest selections from Mary Queen of Scots is Vivre et Mourir. Sung by actress Vanessa Redgrave (in the opening and closing credits, and in a scene where she serenades the sick Lord Darnley), the lyrics are taken from the last six lines of a sonnet attributed to the historical Mary Stuart ('attributed' because the sonnet was found amongst the controversial 'Casket Letters', which may or may not, or were only partly written by Mary to the notorious Lord Bothwell).
The lines (written in 16th century French) set to Barry's music are as follow:
Vous conoistres avecques obeissance
De mon loyal deuoir n'omettant la science
A quoy i'estudiray pour tousiours vous compliare
Sans aymer rien que vous, soubs la suiection
De qui ie veux sens nulle fiction
Viure et mourir...
Translated as:
Someday you certainly will comprehend
How steadfast is my purpose, and how real
Which is to do you pleasure until death
Only to you, being subject: in which faith
I do indeed most fervently intend
To live and die...


(Sonnet taken from Letters and Poems By Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, modernized and translated by Clifford Bax, New York: Philosophical Library, 1947).
You can listen to the song below at the 1:10 time mark. Thanks to the person who posted this online.

Friday 22 May 2015

¡Dios mío!

Love the Grenadier Guards they put in the front!
Spanish Blu-Ray Disc of 'Anne of The Thousand Days'

Tuesday 19 May 2015

'The Queen suffered with sword this day... and died boldly'

'The Queen suffered with sword this day... and died boldly.'
(from a letter by John Husee, London, May 19, 1536)
The Execution of Anne Boleyn, by Jan Luyken (c. 1664-1712)
 Today, May 19, marks the anniversary of the passing of Anne Boleyn.
 Her death was remarkable in two ways. Firstly, Anne was the first Queen of England to be executed, and secondly, she was accorded the privilege of a sword. The common English practice was the use of an axe and a block, but in this case, a French swordsman had to be sent from Calais to do the deed.
 Anne Boleyn's execution was also significant in the very way she died. John Husee, a London merchant, who may have been present at the Tower of London that fateful morning as an eyewitness, commented on how Anne 'died boldly'.1 Her alleged lovers, on the other hand, were described by Husee  as going to their deaths 'very charitably' (that is, in a forgiving and generous state of mind, as good Christians ought to).
 Such conduct was expected, but how did Anne's differ? What exactly did Husee mean by her 'bold' behaviour?
 The procedure on Tower Green that day was conventional. The Queen mounted the scaffold, addressed the crowd, was blindfolded, and knelt for the fatal blow.2 But perhaps her speech may provide clues. In it, Anne submitted herself to the law as the law had judged her, and she prayed for the well being of the King. It was seemingly nondescript. However, it was not what she said on the scaffold that really mattered, but what she didn't say. Anne never acknowledged her fault and that she was deserving to die, as she was supposed to. When Queen Katheryn Howard and Lady Rochford went to the block in 1542, both ladies declared they were 'justly condemned' and asked the spectators to regard their 'worthy and just punishment'.3 Anne Boleyn expressed no such guilt or remorse.
 As well, there was something in her demeanour. The Queen's jailer Sir William Kingston had written to Thomas Cromwell that while he had seen many men and women in great sorrow before their impending executions, the Queen on the contrary, 'has much joy and pleasure in death'.4
 Even upon the scaffold, Anne was in the same frame of mind. Unlike some recent tv and film recreations which have her being nervous or terrified (Wolf Hall and The Other Boleyn Girl come to mind), Anne was calm and dignified in her last moments. When she addressed the crowd who came to see her die, she even did so 'with a goodly smiling countenance.' 
 Anne Boleyn's death was a tragedy in that she was almost certainly innocent of the crimes she was accused. In response to such injustice, she did not die merely bravely, but 'boldly' in defiance.
 We would not have expected less from this extraordinary woman.
1 'Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII', Volume 10, January-June 1536, no. 919. See also no. 920.
2 The story that Anne Boleyn was tricked into turning her head by the executioner is suspect as it comes from a later source, and a questionable one at that. See: 'Chronicle of King Henry VIII of England', trans. by M.A.S. Hume, 1889, p. 71.
3 'Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII', Volume 17, 1542, no. 106.
4 'Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII', Volume 10, January-June 1536, no. 910.
5 'A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559,' by Charles Wriothesley, pg. 42.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

In celebration of Mother's Day - a portrait of Edward VI with his mother Jane Seymour:

Edward VI and Jane Seymour (C. Butler Collection)

Friday 1 May 2015

'Anne Boleyn and the Tower of London'

My article 'Anne Boleyn and the Tower of London' can be read in the May 2015 issue of 'Tudor Life Magazine'.

You can read it here.


Thursday 12 March 2015

A 'Livery Ring'

Anne Boleyn's device of the white falcon. 14K white gold ring.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

An Anne For Everyone?

 Let's face it (no pun intended), the debate over Anne Boleyn's appearance rages on. Even science has been unable to resolve the issue. As reported recently, facial recognition software, as applied to a sampling of her portraits, had yielded inconclusive results.
 Again, we are left with opinion, not to mention our emotional responses as to what this controversial lady looked like - or should have looked like. Was Anne Boleyn the woman with the dark hair and dark eyes sporting a 'B' around her neck, or the pensive sitter wearing a gabled hood as depicted by Hans Holbein. Or was she another of his sitters, heavy-chinned and dressed in a furred gown?
 Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, seems to have an Anne Boleyn to accommodate everyone. Sculpted in the 1980's, the waxwork of her appears to be a composite of different likenesses. She has the costume and the coloring of the popular National Portrait Gallery painting, but also the long nose and wide mouth of the British Museum drawing. As well, the sculptor had incorporated the pronounced jaw of the Windsor Castle sketch.
 Each of Anne Boleyn's portraits has its champions and its detractors. Perhaps in the Tussaud waxwork, we can find something to agree upon, if only in parts.
Anne Boleyn at Madame Tussaud's, London


Sunday 8 March 2015

Viva el rey!

This Spanish comic book about Henry VIII and his 6 wives was a real find. The looks between Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII, and a teenage Elizabeth I(!) are just priceless!

'All in the Family'
Anne: My Elizabeth shall be Queen! And my blood will have been well spent!
Elizabeth: Right on! You tell him momma!


A look inside:

Here, Henry VIII is disappointed when Anne Boleyn gives birth to a girl. He begins to pursue Jane Seymour, arousing Anne's jealousy.

Monday 23 February 2015

Congratulations Eddie!

Congratulations to Eddie Redmayne for his Oscar win last night!

Eddie, as some of you may remember, has appeared in three Tudor themed roles:

As The Earl of Southampton in Elizabeth I (2005)

As Anthony Babington in Elizabeth - The Golden Age (2007).
Interestingly enough, Eddie received his Oscar from actress
Cate Blanchett. Cate played Elizabeth I, whom his character tried to assassinate in this film.

As William Stafford in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)


Sunday 22 February 2015

Anne of the Thousand Faces

 Likenesses of Anne Boleyn are legion - two sketches by Holbein, a tiny enamel in a locket ring, a miniature by Horenbout - the list goes on. Of all the debated images, one has been the most famous, a picture of a lady wearing an initial 'B' around her neck. Yet even this popular and widely duplicated image of Anne has been challenged. In 2007, the organizers of the Lost Faces: Identity and Discovery in Tudor Royal Portraiture exhibition dismissed it as an Elizabethan fabrication. She was made to look 'something of a wicked witch', in line with hostile contemporary Catholic descriptions, they opined!1

Anne Boleyn, by an Unknown Artist. The National Portrait Gallery, London

 While this was a purely subjective point of view, in 2009, historian Susan James offered what she felt was compelling evidence that this portrait type of Anne Boleyn was not actually of her.2 James insisted that such images were not of Henry VIII's second wife, but of his sister Mary Tudor, the former Queen of France and wife of Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk. The 'B', James said, stood for 'Brandon', not 'Boleyn'. As proof, she compared a portrait of Mary to a miniature of Anne by John Hoskins. Anne's likeness, according to James, was evidently modelled after her sister-in-law's. Due to the lack of surviving images of Anne, Elizabethan painters looked to Mary to re-invent her.

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, by an Unknown Artist. Collection of the Earl of Yarborough
Anne Boleyn, by John Hoskins. Collection of the Duke of Buccleuch

 G.W. Bernard, despite being the bête noire of 'Team Anne' for advocating that its beloved Queen might have been truly guilty of the sexual crimes she was accused of, pointed out that the high ranking Mary, sister of the King of England and widow of the King of France, would not have identified herself with the 'by no means socially distinguished family name of Brandon'.3

 James' claim has not gained wide acceptance. The National Portrait Gallery in London, for one, has no plans to re-label its picture of Anne.

 There was more controversy just last week when The Guardian posted this headline: Possible Anne Boleyn portrait found using facial recognition software.4 According to the article, researchers of the FACES (Faces, Art, and Computerized Evaluation Systems) research project at the University of California, Riverside had found a correlation between the 1534 portrait medal (the only known likeness of Anne Boleyn made in her lifetime) and the Nidd Hall painting. However, the algorithm used by the scientists failed to correspond the medal to the 'B' pendant type portrait of the Queen. Hence, the Nidd Hall picture was the most authentic likeness of Anne, not the other.5

Anne Boleyn, by an Unknown Artist. Bradford Museums and Galleries (formerly at Nidd Hall)

 The story was sensationalistic, but short lived. Within 24 hours of The Guardian's announcement, Claire Ridgway, who runs The Anne Boleyn Files web site, received a reply from one of the FACES researchers about the discovery.6 In response to her query asking for more information about the study, Professor Conrad Rudolph at the University of California and the director of FACES, set the record straight. The findings of the project linking the portrait medal to any paintings of Anne were actually inclusive, he corrected. In other words, the press had misrepresented FACES' research. There was no obvious tie between the medal and the Nidd Hall picture.

 Will there be a correction from the press? Highly unlikely. Putting out an attention grabbing headline and then having to retract it, doesn't make for good reporting.
1. B. Grosvenor (editor), Lost Faces: Identity and Discovery in Tudor Royal Portraiture, London, Philip Mould Ltd., 2007, pg. 59.

2. S. James, The Feminine Dynamic in English art, 1485-1603: Women as Consumers, Patrons and Painters, Burlington, VT, Ashgate, 2009, pgs. 126-127.

3. G.W. Bernard, Anne Boleyn - Fatal Attractions, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2010, pg. 199.

4. The Guardian (link accessed Feb. 16, 2015). The idea to match the 1534 medal to portraits of Anne Boleyn was suggested by Lucy Churchill to the FACES project (link accessed Feb. 17, 2015). Lucy Churchill, a stone carver by profession, had made a reconstruction of the medal by studying the original.

5. I've discussed the Nidd Hall picture in a previous article, where I offered the opinion that it may have been based on a portrait type of Henry VIII's third wife Jane Seymour. See:

6. See:

Wednesday 28 January 2015

A Reassessment of Queen Anne Boleyn’s Portraiture

ABSTRACT: The portraiture of Queen Anne Boleyn remains controversial. The reliability of the well known  National Portrait Gallery type has been put into question by two alternate likenesses purported to be of the Queen. One is a sketch by Hans Holbein (the Royal collection), and the other, a miniature by Lucas Horenbolte (2 versions; the Buccleuch collection and the Royal Ontario Museum).

This paper argues in favor of the National Portrait Gallery pattern, and suggests that Lucas Horenbolte may have originated it . What is also proposed here is that the Nidd Hall/Basiliwlogia image of Anne Boleyn is actually of her successor Jane Seymour.


 The confusion surrounding the portraiture of Anne Boleyn was addressed by historian E.W. Ives in his biography of the Queen published in 1986.1 Ives reasserted the well-known National Portrait Gallery pattern (Fig. 1) as having primacy based on comparisons with a contemporary portrait medal, an Elizabethan locket ring at Chequers, and a miniature by John Hoskins the Elder painted for Charles I - all of which bear a similar likeness of Anne Boleyn. Unfortunately, the question of her portraiture has not been entirely settled with certainty as there are still two principal challengers in the forms of a Holbein drawing in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, and in a miniature by the Flemish artist Lucas Horenbolte.2  The argument to be made here is that neither of these sitters can be convincingly recognized as Anne, and that the NPG portrait pattern remains the only authentic image of Henry VIII's second wife known. 



1. Anne Boleyn (by an Unknown Artist), 16th c., National Portrait Gallery, London


  In regards to the Holbein sketch (Fig. 2), John Rowlands and David Starkey have proposed that the sitter was indeed Anne Boleyn based on the appearance of the lady.3  She is seen in three-quarter profile dressed in a furred robe over a chemise laced at the throat, and wears a simple undercap. Rather than the seductive Anne Boleyn of legend, the sitter's looks are rather plain, and she bears an unflattering pronounced jawline. Rowlands and Starkey have argued that such 'undress' on the part of this ‘royal’ sitter was a novelty of sorts to relax the dictates of court etiquette. However, it seems unlikely that Anne with her much commented upon sense of style would have permitted herself to be depicted as such.


2. Portrait inscribed 'Anna Bollein Queen' (by Hans Holbein), c. 1530's, Royal Collection



 Since her early days at court Anne Boleyn had a reputation in fine dressing and in fashion setting. George Wyatt, the grandson of Anne’s admirer, the celebrated poet Thomas Wyatt, wrote that in her attire 'she excelled them all'.4  Even those hostile to Anne Boleyn, such as the Elizabethan Catholic Nicholas Sander, admitted to the Queen being always 'well dressed, and every day made some change in the fashion of her garments’.5  For one with such a concern for style and status, it appears highly inconceivable that Anne Boleyn would have wished to present herself in such a humble manner for her portrait taking.

 If the sitter's déshabillé was not modesty on her part, it was credited to the supposed loose atmosphere of Anne Boleyn's court.6  Though Anne's Vice-Chamberlain himself commented that 'pastime in the Queen's chamber was never more',7   a remark such as this was in reference to the fortnight of celebrations immediately following Anne’s coronation. Mention of sexual misconduct in the Queen's apartments only conveniently appeared when Anne's fall was instigated in April of 1536 after her miscarriage a few months prior. As to the actual nature of Anne Boleyn's household, there was probably much truth in her silkwoman Jane Wilkinson's recollection that the Queen's ladies were constantly occupied in charitable works so that there was never 'any leisure to follow such pastimes as daily seen now-a-days in princes' courts'.8   Anne, a sincere Reformist in fact did much to emulate the conduct of her former mistress, the pious Katherine of Aragon, as to present herself as a worthy Christian ruler.9

 Along with dress, the very appearance of the sitter is problematic in identifying her as Anne Boleyn. The thickened neck of the lady was supposedly the reported swelling Anne had tried to conceal with the high ruff of her mantle at her coronation according to a contemporary French account found in Brussels.10   To believe that Anne was goitrous (not to mention deformed by a large wart says the writer), one would also have to accept the ridiculous fiction that at her crowning she also wore a dress covered with a sinister motif of tongues pierced with nails ‘to show the treatment which those who spoke against her might expect’.11   As Anne Boleyn's elevation was tied to Reform and the repression of the Roman Church, she was aptly clothed as a sort of Jezebel by a hostile witness. With the reliability of these accounts being so suspect, they cannot literally be taken to confirm the Windsor drawing as being of her. What is even more problematic is that Anne was dark-haired; the Windsor sitter is blond.

3. Unknown Lady (attributed to Lucas Horenbolte), c. 1525 to early 1530's, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

 At the time Rowlands and Starkey's findings were made, Roy Strong suggested that a miniature attributed to Lucas Horenbolte (Horenbout) in the Royal Ontario Museum (Fig. 3), with another version in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury, was a portrait of Anne Boleyn.12  According to Strong, the appearance of this sitter is ‘perfectly compatible’ with that of Anne in the NPG type. But in actuality it is difficult to reconcile the two likenesses – the NPG type of Anne with her long face and high cheekbones versus Horenbolte’s lady with her broader features and double chin.
 Interesting enough, the two Horenbolte miniatures were formerly identified as being of Anne's rival Jane Seymour, and even as Katherine of Aragon. The labeling of Queen Jane for the Toronto version was probably due in part to the tradition that the portrait was originally held by the Seymours being passed down from Jane's own brother Edward, Duke of Somerset.13  But what is actually known is that the earliest member of the family to have positively owned the miniature was Charles Seymour (1662-1748).14

 On evidence of the age of Horenbolte’s sitter (given as 25) and her appearance, Ives has rejected the miniature as a portrait of Anne Boleyn.15  Because Horenbolte's miniatures were apparently restricted to the royal family, he has suggested that the lady in question might be one of Henry VIII's nieces - Margaret Douglas or Frances Brandon. Yet the headdress of the sitter in the Toronto miniature indicates otherwise. Both Margaret and Frances would have been 25 in 1540 and 1542 respectively, and the gabled English hood with its front borders extending slightly below the chin were a feature dating a few years back.16  In the Buccleuch version, this part of the headgear is even more elongated. The fashion of the early 1540’s would have dictated shortened borders aligned with the mouth, or even the adaptation of the more popular French hood altogether. The popularity of French dress at the English Court during this period was noted by the French ambassador who described Queen Katheryn Howard and her ladies as ‘vestue à la française’.17

 If Horenbolte's sitter cannot be identified as a member of the King’s family, it would seem that she was a courtier who nevertheless had some sort of standing to permit herself to be painted in miniature, and not to mention twice by the artist. It appears that Horenbolte’s clients were not solely drawn from the ranks of the Tudors and their close relations as panels of Anthony Browne and William Carey, both members of the Privy Chamber, have been attributed to the Flemish painter.18

 4. William Carey (by an Unknown Artist), 16th c., Private Collection

 William Carey (Fig. 4) as a possible Horenbolte sitter is significant in that he was married to Anne Boleyn's sister Mary. The connection with the Boleyns suggests that Horenbolte and his family may have come to England and been initially patronized by Anne and Mary's father Thomas Boleyn, the Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde, whom they may have already known when the latter served as ambassador to the Low Countries.19   Tree ring analysis of the Carey portrait (Private Collection), originally thought to have been painted from life, had actually revealed it to be an Elizabethan copy, probably commissioned by Carey’s son Henry, Lord Hunsdon.20   What is of great interest is that the panel may have been derived from a miniature portrait on the basis of costume evidence.21  As Carey died of the sweating sickness in 1528, a supposed miniature of him painted from life would have had to have been done by Horenbolte who was already engaged in painting miniatures at the King’s Court in around the middle 1520’s.

 If Horenbolte did indeed paint William Carey, perhaps it can be suggested that the Toronto and Buccleuch miniatures could be of his wife Mary Boleyn.22   Although the birthdates of Sir Thomas’ surviving children are unknown, his two daughters and their brother George, Lord Rochford were somewhat close in age. In a letter to Thomas Cromwell in 1536, Boleyn recalled that his wife Elizabeth Howard ‘bought me every year a child'’.23  Mary Boleyn being 25 in about the middle 1520’s would fit the age of Horenbolte’s sitter. The ambiguous bird-like symbol appearing on the lady's brooch may in fact be the Ormonde falcon as depicted on Thomas Boleyn's tomb at Hever.24
 Discarding the Windsor drawing and the Horenbolte miniature as possible portraits of Anne Boleyn, what remains is the familiar NPG image. It should be mentioned that another portrait type found in a painting formerly at Nidd Hall has also been accepted, though with some caution, as a likeness of Anne.25

 5. Anne Boleyn (by an Unknown Artist), 16th c., Private Collection

 The Nidd Hall (Fig. 5) picture identifies the sitter as the Queen through a brooch with the initials AB pinned at her breast. There is suspicion that this sitter was actually Anne Boleyn when comparison is made to a printed version of this picture (Fig. 6). The Nidd Hall variant was engraved by Renold Elstrack for the Basiliwlogia, a volume of royal portraits released in 1618. Instead of the AB brooch, a square jeweled tablet is worn by Anne, along with a different necklace consisting of stringed pearls with a tau cross pendant. Although the sitter is positively identified as The Most Excellent Princesse Anne Boleyn, her likeness was actually derived from that of Anne's supplanter Jane Seymour.

 6. Anne Boleyn (by Renold Elstrack), in Henry Holland's Baziliwlogia (1618), National Portrait Gallery, London

 Remigius van Leemput's copy of Holbein's dynastic mural at Whitehall shows Henry VIII's third consort (Fig. 7) in the same costume as Elstrack's 'Anne Boleyn'. Jane wears a similar gabled headdress of embroidered cloth of gold with a frontlet of pearls. The rest of the costume - the necklace and pendant, jeweled square, pearled collar, and ropes of pearls strung across the chest all repeat that of Elstrack's ‘Anne’. The facial features found in the engraving and in the Nidd Hall picture are actually more in line with the Whitehall Jane's than those of the NPG Anne.

 7. The Whitehall Mural, detail showing Jane Seymour (by Remigius van Leemput after Hans Holbein), 1667, Royal Collection
Why an image of Jane Seymour was confused as her predecessor is unclear. It would seem that renewed interest in portraits of the reigning Queen's mother in Elizabethan England presented difficulties due to the scarcity of available sources. The briefness of Anne's ascendancy, and her posthumous infamy meant that few likenesses survived, unlike those of Jane who managed to secure the Tudor succession with the birth of a male heir. Images of Anne Boleyn were probably never widely circulated to begin with.26  The new demand for her picture probably led to the relabeling of some of Jane’s portraits, whether purposely or not.
 What is puzzling is that the Whitehall image from which Elstrack's engraving of Anne Boleyn was based was unquestionably known to be of Jane Seymour. The conclusion to be drawn is that the engraving was most likely derived from a Nidd Hall type panel which misidentified the sitter as Anne Boleyn. Elstrack may have simply copied it as such in ignorance of the picture’s actual source.
 The Nidd Hall sitter's necklace may provide further evidence of a link with Jane Seymour. A virtually similar piece of jewelry consisting of a necklace and choker of four pearl clusters alternating with table-cut diamonds set in a quatrefoils can be found in portraits of Henry VIII's third wife by Holbein (Kunsthistorisches Museum), and by Horenbolte (Sudeley Castle). The Nidd Hall lady’s is of the same design but the diamonds have been substituted by rubies. The similarity suggests that the two necklaces were created as a matching set or parure for the royal consort. Jane’s successors, Katheryn Howard and Katharine Parr were apparently painted wearing the same jewelry as well. A Holbein miniature of a lady commonly identified as Henry’s fifth Queen (Royal Collection, with another version in the Buccleuch Collection),27  is depicted wearing the necklace set in rubies. Katharine Parr who ultimately took possession of the royal jewels, wears it set in diamonds, in a portrait formerly in the collection of the Earl of Jersey.28

 Even though the NGP type of Anne Boleyn identifies the sitter as Henry’s second Queen without doubt, its reliability as a true likeness has been called into question because it exists only as posthumous Elizabethan copies.29  Costume evidence may provide some further evidence in its favour. Here the sitter is fashionably attired unlike the lady of the Windsor drawing. She wears a gown with a square collar of goldsmith’s work, and a headdress with pearled billiments - all black. Black was likely to have been one of Anne Boleyn's preferred colours as it would have complemented her famed dark looks. In the royal expenses of 1532, the Queen's fondness for the colour is apparent in the description of a luxurious 'night gown' she had made consisting of black satin, vellute, buckram, and taffeta.30

  8. Anne Boleyn (by an Unknown Artist), 16th c., Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent

9. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (by 'The Cast Shadow Master Painter'), 16th c., National Portrait Gallery, London

 Where we may be on surer ground in confirming this likeness of Queen Anne is by analyzing a specific feature of the picture itself, or rather of a very close variant of it. This with its correlation to two works by Horenbolte establishes the NPG type as a portrait derived from Anne’s own lifetime.
 What authenticates the NPG painting as a true likeness of Anne Boleyn, is a copy of this type at Hever Castle (Fig.8). The obvious difference is the addition of the sitter's hands - one stretched across the breast, the other clutching a red rose. The importance of the hands is in the manner in which they are posed. Their positioning is reminiscent of that used by Horenbolte in a panel portrait attributed to him. A painting of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (Fig. 9) by the so-called 'Shadow Master' (an unknown painter believed to be the Flemish Master himself)31  has her repeating Anne’s gesture though reversed. Such a depiction of the hands appears again in Horenbolte’s miniature of Katherine of Aragon with her monkey (Fig. 10). An obvious comparison can be made between Anne’s fingers handling the rose and those of Katherine offering a scrap of food to her pet. That this custom of placing the hands was only in vogue in Tudor portraiture from the 1520’s to 1530’s 32  implies that the NPG/Hever type of Anne was painted from life with the Queen formally posed in the then current fashion.

10. Katherine of Aragon (attributed to Lucas Horenbolte), c. 1525-31, Buccleuch Collection
These clues point to Horenbolte as the originator of the NPG type image of Anne Boleyn.33   As the Queen surely needed an official portrait of herself to affirm her royal status (even more so due to her general unpopularity as Henry VIII's new wife), Anne would have turned to Horenbolte who by 1531 was engaged in royal service. Anne might already have been familiar with him as he may have received earlier patronage from her family. Being the 'King's Painter' Horenbolte would have been the most obvious candidate to paint the Queen of England. As mentioned, portraits of Katherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour by the artist exist,34  so it is more than likely that Anne Boleyn sat to the Flemish Master as well. It is tempting to think that the ‘ancient oil-colour piece’ from which John Hoskins copied his miniature35  may have been such a panel painting, but unfortunately no such picture from Anne’s own lifetime is known. It is due in thanks to Elizabeth I's ascension to the throne that the demand for her mother's likeness as a dynastic portrait ensured the copies which do survive today.



1 ERIC IVES: Anne Boleyn, Oxford [1986], pp.52-56. See also: ERIC IVES: ‘The Queen and the painters: Anne Boleyn, Holbein and Tudor royal portraits’, Apollo Magazine [July 1994], pp.36-45.

2 Despite its long and popular claim as a portrait of Anne Boleyn, the Bradford Holbein drawing of a lady (British Museum) is now generally dismissed as a picture of her. See: JOHN ROWLANDS: ‘A portrait drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger’, British Museum Yearbook, 2 [1977], pp.231- 237. 

3 JOHN ROWLANDS and DAVID STARKEY: ‘An old tradition reasserted: Holbein’s portrait of Queen Anne Boleyn’, Burlington Magazine, CXXV [1983], pp.88-92. See also: JOHN ROWLANDS: The Age of Dürer and Holbein (German Drawings 1400 – 1550), London [1988], p.236. 

4 GEORGE WYATT: The Papers of George Wyatt, ed. D.M. LOADES, Camden Society, 4th series, 5 [1968], p.141. 

5 NICOLAS SANDER: The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism, ed. D. LEWIS, London [1877], p.25. 

6 JOHN ROWLANDS and DAVID STARKEY, loc. cit. at note 3 above, p.91.  Return
7 Public Records Office, London: PRO SPI/76 f. 195 (Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, ed. J.S. BREWER , J. GAIRDNER, and R.H. BRODIE, 21 vols. and appendix, London [1862-1932], VI, 613; hereafter referred to as Letters and Papers). 

8 JOHN FOXE: Acts and Monuments, ed. G.TOWNSEND, 8 vols., New York [1965], V, pp.60-61.

9 RETHA M. WARNICKE: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn, Cambridge [1989], pp.149-153. 

10 Public Records Office, London: PRO 31/8 f. 51 (Letters and Papers, VI 585). 

11 Document cited at note 10 above, PRO 31/8 f. 51 (Letters and Papers, VI 585). In Christian iconography, severed tongues were regarded as symbols of the persecution of martyrs who maintained their faith. See: HANS BIEDERMANN: Dictionary of Symbolism: Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind them, translated by JAMES HULBERT, New York [1994; reprint], p.346. 

12 ROY STRONG: The English Renaissance Miniature, London [1983], pp.36-37 and p.189. See also:  ROY STRONG: Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620, London [1983], p.18 and pp.39-40. 

13 H.HICKL-SZABO: Miniature Portraits in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto [1981], pp.3-4. 

14 H.HICKL-SZABO, op. cit. at note 13 above, p.4.  

15 ERIC IVES, Anne Boleyn, op. cit. at note 1 above, p.56. Also: loc. cit. at note 1 above, ‘The Queen and the painters’, pp.36-38. 

16 The changing style in English hoods is documented in portraits of Henry VIII’s first three wives: Horenbolte’s miniature of Katherine of Aragon with her monkey (The Duke of Buccleuch; reproduced here as Fig. 10) dated to the late middle 1520’s; Anne Boleyn’s portrait medal of 1534 (British Museum); and the various Holbein types of Jane Seymour from 1536/37. 

17 Correspondence Politique de M. De Castillon et de M. Marillac, ed. JEAN KAULEK, Paris [1885], p.218. 

18 HUGH PAGET: ‘Gerard and Lucas Hornebolt in England’, Burlington Magazine, 101 [1959], pp.396-402.

19 HUGH PAGET, loc. cit. at note 18 above, p.400.  

20 JOHN FLETCHER: ‘A portrait of William Carey and Lord Hunsdon’s Long Gallery’, Burlington Magazine, 123 [1981], p.304.

21 JOHN FLETCHER, loc. cit. at note 20 above, p.304. Another copy of William Carey’s portrait (Private Collection) is believed to be the ad vivum original painted by an unknown Flemish artist. See: Henry VIII: A European Court in England, ed. D. STARKEY, New York [1991], p.57. This dating is questionable as removal of overpaint in Carey’s costume has revealed the same Elizabethan elements shown in Lord Hunsdon’s version. 

22 The portrait of Mary Boleyn at Hever Castle, which any comparison ought to be made, is not contemporary on the basis of style, nor is it known to be derived from an earlier source. 

23 Letters and Papers, op. cit. in note 7 above, XI, 17. Anne Boleyn’s birthdate remains controversial. For arguments favouring 1501, see: HUGH PAGET: ‘The Youth of Anne Boleyn’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 54 [1981], pp.162– 70. The opinion for 1507 is covered in: RETHA M. WARNICKE: ‘Anne Boleyn’s Childhood and Adolescence’, The Historical Journal, 28, 4 [1985], pp.939–952. 

24 ERIC IVES, ‘The Queen and the painters’, loc. cit. at note 1 above, p.36. This would then date the miniature to after December 1529 following Thomas Boleyn’s investiture as Earl of Ormonde. The so-called bird-like image is definitely not the familiar device of Anne Boleyn’s crowned white falcon seen in profile. The falcon badge was not used by Anne till the time she became Queen in 1533. The image on the brooch may even be of an angel with outstretched wings, or of a female figure with wide hanging sleeves.

25 ERIC IVES, Anne Boleyn, op. cit. at note 1 above, p.56. Also: ‘The Queen and the painters’, loc. cit. at note 1 above, p.44. Ives remarks that the Nidd Hall is ‘not incompatible’ with the NPG type. 

26 ERIC IVES, ‘The Queen and the painters’, loc. cit. at note 1 above, p.44. 

27 SUSAN E. JAMES: ‘Lady Margaret Douglas and Sir Thomas Seymour by Holbein’, Apollo Magazine [May 1998], pp. 15–20, has proposed that the so-called miniature of Katheryn Howard is actually that of Henry VIII’s niece, Margaret Douglas. Holbein’s sitter wears a pendant like Queen Jane’s but with the diamond replaced by an emerald. 

28 The Jersey painting now known only through photographs is reproduced in: ROY STRONG: Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, London, [1969], ii, under ‘Lady Jane Dudley 1537-54’ (Fig. 148). This portrait type (along with associated ones) has been was re-identified as actually being of Henry VIII’s last Queen. See: SUSAN.E. JAMES: ‘Lady Jane Grey or Queen Kateryn Parr?’, Burlington, CXXXVIII [January 1996],  pp.20-24. The Jersey picture of Katharine Parr has the Queen wearing a pendant – a pear shaped tablet with three prominent stones and a pearl drop that may be the same as the Nidd Hall sitter’s of three rubies. The Jersey portrait shows the jewel consisting of two diamonds and a ruby. Despite the discrepancy, this may have been the same pendant but with the stones reset, or their colour altered by subsequent overpainting. This jewel may also be the one appearing in a Jacobean engraving of ‘Jane Grey’ (re-identified by Susan E. James as Katharine Parr) from Henry Holland’s Herwologia Anglica. Here, the previously mentioned necklace of alternating pearl clusters and quatrefoils appears as well. 

29 Henry VIII: A European Court in England, ed. D. STARKEY, New York [1991], p.103.

30 Privy Purse Expenses of King Henry VIII, ed. N.H. NICOLAS, London [1827], pp.222-223. References to several other items made in black fabrics for the Queen can be found in W. LOKE: An Account of Materials Furnished for the Use of Queen Anne Boleyn and the Princess Elizabeth, ed. J.B. HEATH, London [1862]. 

31 ROY STRONG, The English Renaissance Miniature, op. cit. at note 12 above, pp.42–44. 

32 ROY STRONG, The English Renaissance Miniature, op. cit. at note 12 above, p.42. 

33 A miniature based on the NPG type (The Earl of Romney; reproduced in: A.F. POLLARD: Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation 1489-1556, New York [1906], facing p.32) bears an inscription that it was copied from a picture by Lucas Cornelii (1493/5-1552). Cornelli (also Corneley, Cornelisz, or de Kock ) was an obscure Flemish painter of oils and watercolours who supposedly worked at the English Court. The attribution to him as the original artist of the Boleyn picture may have been due to a number of Henrican portraits at Hampton Court being labeled as his. See: CAREL VAN MANDER: Dutch and Flemish Painters, Translation from Schilderboeck, New York [1936], p. 70 and p. 454, note 1. Cornelli has also been confused with the ‘Lucas’ (that is Horenbolte) who taught Holbein to paint miniatures. Refer to: J.J. FOSTER: Dictionary of Painters of Miniatures (1525-1850), London [1926], p.60.  

34 It appears that that the NPG half length of   Katherine of Aragon (with another version at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts) is by Horenbolte as well. The Queen's right hand is identical to that of Anne Boleyn's clutching the rose in the Hever variant, while her left mirrors that of Margaret Pole's right. Also, a comparison of  Katherine's hands in the NPG/Boston portrait to that of the Buccleuch miniature of her is obvious.  

35 H.A. KENNEDY: Early English Portrait Miniatures in the Collection of the Duke of Buccleuch, ed. CHARLES HOLME, London [1917], p.14.