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


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