Art historian and Tudor author Roland Hui has rediscovered a contemporary depiction of Anne Boleyn within the The Black Book of the Garter, created in 1534 and boasting several images of kings, including Henry VIII.
As Hui describes, “a lady, crowned and sceptred, sits enthroned surrounded by courtiers. Behind her are six maids of honour, and before her on the left, stands an armoured herald bearing the arms of England on his tabard. On the right is an ‘ancient knight’ wearing a rich chain of office. The accompanying text, written in Latin, identifies her as the Queen Consort who helps preside over the meeting of the Order:
‘At this appearance, was his excellent Queen, splendidly arrayed with three hundred beautiful ladies, eminent for the honour of their birth, and the gracefulness and beauty of their clothing and dress. For heretofore when jousts, tournaments, entertainments and public shows were made, in which men of nobility and valour showed their strength and prowess, the Queen, ladies, and other women of illustrious birth with ancient knights, and some chosen heralds were wont to be, and it was supposed that they ought to be present as proper judges, to see, discern, approve or disapprove what might be done, to challenge, allot, by speech, nod, discourse, or otherwise to promote the matter in hand, to encourage and stir up bravery by their words and looks’.
The ‘excellent Queen’ referred to is Philippa of Hainault, the wife of Edward III. However, a closer inspection of the illumination shows that the sitter wears a large circular pendant at her bosom. On it are combined letters in gold: A and R – that is Anna Regina. It is Anne Boleyn as Queen Philippa.”
Unfortunately, the artist and court painter Horenbout seemed more preoccupied with depicting an image of majesty rather than accurately depicting Anne’s features – however, there is a definite telltale oval face and pointed chin, which corresponds to the popular portraiture of Queen Anne, most notably the famous “B” necklace pattern. Furthermore, the dress worn by the queen is strikingly similar to one later donned by Jane Seymour.
To quote Claire Ridgeway, it seems the Moost Happi coin is no longer the only confirmed contemporary image of Anne!