Anne Boleyn ? 

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!

Today in history – The execution of Kathryn Howard On 13 February 1542 

Today in history – The execution of Kathryn HowardOn 13 February 1542 Kathryn Howard -the fifth consort of Henry VIII and cousin of his second consort Anne Boleyn who also faced the same end- was executed grounds of treason for committing adultery.

In 1536, at the age of 13, Catherine was molested by her music teacher, Henry Mannox. He would later give evidence against her. In 1538 Catherine was pursued by a secretary in the Dowager Duchess’s household, Francis Dereham.

They became lovers and referred to each other as “husband” and “wife.” It was ended in 1539 when the Dowager Duchess caught wind of their relationship. Catherine and Francis may have parted with intentions to marry.

Catherine’s uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, found her a place at court in the household of Anne of Cleves. She quickly caught the eye of Henry VIII who was clearly uninterested in Anne. The Howards took advantage of the situation and sought to gain the influence they once had during the reign of Anne Boleyn. They succeeded in this and soon Henry was bestowing gifts of land and expensive cloth upon Catherine.

Catherine married Henry soon after his divorce from Anne in July 1540. In her new position, Catherine was called upon for favors in return for silence by people who had witnessed her earlier indiscretions. She made a fatal mistake when she appointed Francis Dereham as her personal secretary. It’s alleged that in early 1541, she began an affair with one of Henry’s courtiers, Thomas Culpeper.

By November 1541, Henry was made aware of her earlier relationships. Not wanting to believe that his “rose without a thorn” had such a scandalous past, Henry ordered an investigation to find out who was slandering Catherine while she herself was kept locked up. Unfortunately for Catherine, the evidence was against her and the king could not deny her past. Catherine refused to admit to a marriage contract between herself and Dereham and instead claimed that he raped her. She did this in spite of the fact that if she had admitted to a precontract, Henry would have been able to save face and easily annul the marriage. She was stripped of her title and imprisoned in Middlesex.

Catherine remained in limbo until February 1542 when Parliament made it an act of treason for a queen consort to fail to disclose her sexual history to the king within twenty days of their marriage, or to incite someone to commit adultery with her. Catherine was then found unequivocally guilty of treason and sentenced to death.


The night before her execution, Catherine is believed to have spent many hours practising how to lay her head upon the block, which had been brought to her at her request. She died with relative composure, but looked pale and terrified, she required assistance to climb the scaffold. She made a speech describing her punishment as “worthy and just” and asked for mercy for her family and prayers for her soul. According to popular folklore, her final words were, “I die a Queen, but I would rather have died the wife of Culpeper”. Catherine was beheaded with a single stroke of the executioner’s axe.Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford, was executed immediately thereafter on Tower Green. Both their bodies were buried in an unmarked grave in the nearby chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, where the bodies of Catherine’s cousins, Anne and George Boleyn, also lay. Other cousins were also in the crowd, including the Earl of Surrey. Henry did not attend. Catherine’s body was not one of those identified during restorations of the chapel during Queen Victoria’s reign. She is commemorated on a plaque on the west wall dedicated to all those who died in the Tower.Upon hearing news of Catherine’s execution, Francis I of France wrote a letter to Henry, regretting the “lewd and naughty [evil] behaviour of the Queen” and advising him that “the lightness of women cannot bend the honour of men”

The ghost of Catherine

When Catherine was arrested at Hampton Court, she broke away from the guards and ran down the gallery into a chapel where Henry was praying. She screamed and pleaded for her life, but Henry simply ignored her. The guards seized her again and dragged her screaming and kicking away. Catherine was quickly taken down a barge to the Tower of London, where she was beheaded. After her death, her spirit returned to Hampton Court where it can sometimes be seen running frantically along the same path, pursued by phantom soldiers. Her shrieks and screams are said to be bone chilling. This gallery, known as the Haunted Gallery, was closed up as a result of Catherine’s unrequited ghost for many years. However, in the 1900’s the Office of Works had the Haunted Gallery reopened and renovated in 1918. It is still known as the Haunted Gallery. Today, visitors on tours will often feel an eerie presence in the gallery. Those who are lucky can sometimes still catch a glimpse of the “Screaming Lady.”

Twiggie.

The Faerie Queen Elizabeth I

This is a 1609 edition copy of the incomplete epic poem The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser. It is one of the longest poems in the English language and is notable for its verse form known as the Spenserian stanza. The Faerie Queene contains allegories to praise Queen Elizabeth I, who favoured the piece resulting in a £50 annual stipend for Spenser. This work would be his most famous. Call No: RAR PR 2358 AI 1609

Written during the Reformation, a time of religious and political controversy. The poem celebrates, memorialises, and critiques the Tudor dynasty (of which Elizabeth was a part).   The Faerie Queene suggests that the Tudor lineage can be connected to King Arthur and  The world of The Faerie Queene is based on English Arthurian legend.    


The frontispiece is spellbinding.  We must not forget that these poems were composed during the reformation, a time when many Catholic images were being destroyed by The ‘Establishment’ in England.    We can clearly observe a scriptural reference to the hand and arm of the Lord emerging from the clouds indicating the presence of the almighty.    These hands clasp the Anchor which is entwined by a snake.  First impressions would indicate a  Maritime theme, but this has a much deeper meaning.  Remember the time … the anchor was a symbol used before the cross, and symbolises that Jesus/God/Christianity was the anchor.  It’s also a Christian symbol for hope and steadfast.  The snake entwined is about salvation or raising up, and eternal life.  However, the Anchor is in fact the Ankh, the Crux Ansata. A simple T-Cross, surmounted by an oval – called the RU, which is, simply put, the gateway to enlightenment. This enigmatic symbol represents ‘eternal life’ and is  often depicted being held by a god which we can see here.  

Now the snake / serpent is the interesting part.  In isolation the snake personifies evil, Satan and original sin and Saturn who personified time. This snake looks rather angry, you can see clearly it’s forked tongue.  Elizabeth is renown to have owned jewellery and costume including emblems of serpents, which were probably understood as a symbol of wisdom. 

The portrait was created by an unknown artist in the 1580s or early 1590s and the Tudor queen is shown with the snake clasped in her fingers.  

Examining the frontispiece further looking at the Left hand side In Latin Et vsque ad nvbes veritas tva; head-and tail-pieces; initials with the picture which appears from the clouds holding a book in front of a sun.  Laurel leaves and two single roses.   

Central is the face of Isis and we will come back to this when looking at the poems within the book.  


The heraldic shield contains three books, a chevron with a bird flanked by roses.  A sun with a central dove.  This shield is featured on another page.  

Right hand side 

Os homini sublime dedit
surround a central sun.  Latin translated to “man the gods gave”


Source http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/detail/UoEgal~5~5~63212~103788:Faerie-Queene,-Frontispiece

The top portion of the page centrally are the words 

כחוח = Thistle

Flanked symmetrically by Two globes. 

The central image on the page is the shield which was found on the frontispiece.  The central sun with the words Os homini sublime dedit. Latin translated to “man the gods gave”

A shield is held by two ladies.  One whom is bearing a break.  

The poem is dedicated to Elizabeth who is represented in the poem as the Faerie Queene Gloriana, as well as the character Belphoebe.  The upper part of the page displays The English Royal Lion (on the left) and the Welsh Dragon (on the right), symbolising that Elizabeth was Queen of England and Wales.   


Throughout The Faerie Queene, virtue is seen as “a feature for the nobly born” On the opposite side of the spectrum, The Faerie Queene indicates qualities such as cowardice and discourtesy that signify low birth. Spenser, in his letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, points out the most obvious allegorical devices that run through the entire tale. Those are the Red Crosse Knight, Gloriana, and Faerie Land, as King Arthur, Queen Elizabeth I, and England, respectively. Sovereignty being what it was (and, to a lesser degree, remains), one may see not only Faerie Land but also the characters of the Red Crosse Knight and Gloriana as symbolic of all England. Thus, Spenser’s Trinitarian representation of the State is his first showing of England’s alignment with the divine and, thereby, Elizabeth’s God-given right to rule. (Palmer, J, 2009) 

Twiggie

Sources 

The Errour of Rome: Spenser’s Defence of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I and the Church of England in The Faerie Queene, Palmer, 2009

http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/detail/UoEgal~5~5~63212~103788:Faerie-Queene,-Frontispiece

Could this be Anne Boleyn?

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 Leading Historian Alison Weir believes that a 19th Century engraving which was discovered on Ebay could be the ‘lost’ 16th Century portrait of Anne Boleyn, Queen of England

Actually, what has been discovered is an old reproduction (above) of an apparently lost painting – and the fact that it was found on eBay has given the story added legs (although just to be precise, what was being sold on eBay were modern reproductions – for £70 – of a print found in a print shop near Oxford by a former farmer and Tudor portrait enthusiast Howard Jones).


The original painting was sold to a London Art dealer before being lost in 1842.  After Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536, pictures of the beguiling Queen were destroyed. A concerted effort to erase her from history was rather thorough, leaving only a battered lead disc (the Moost Happi medal)  which is housed in the British Museum in London as a contemporary likeness.  There are only two other authenticated ‘portraits’; one in the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), the Nidd Hall Portrait housed within the Bradford Art Gallery.

AN00216454_001_l
Bust of Anne Boleyn
THE MOOST HAPPI, ANNO 1534

 

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Anne Boleyn by Unknown English Arts
Purchased, 1882 (National Portrait Gallery)

Anne_Boleyn__the_Nidd_Hall_portrait
Nidd Hall Portrait

The Nidd Hall housed in the Bradford Art Gallery shows a woman wearing jewellery long thought to be Boleyn’s. But scholars have been divided on the figure’s identity. Some claim the woman is Boleyn’s successor, Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII

So, this painting that emerged in an online auction, was somewhat exciting.   Looking at the details within the portraiture, you can clearly see:-

1

 The sitter’s lavish necklace bears the initials of Anne Boleyn Regina.  This ‘A’ pendant resembles that worn by her daughter, the Elizabeth I .  The letter B stands for the Boleyn family.   The letter R for Anne Regina’, hence the portrait being a coronation portrait. The fashion is also right for a portrait of the 1530s.
The image is not unknown, for it was engraved at least twice in the 19th Century.


Then, the sitter was thought to be Joanna Fitzalan, Lady Bergavenny. This Lady Bergavenny, however, died some time before 1515, and the fashion would appear to rule her out as the sitter in this portrait (though one never knows in Tudor portraiture, and we cannot exclude the possibility that it shows another member of the family). The picture was once at Strawberry Hill, and we must tempted to assume that if there really was any historical chance this sitter might have been Anne Boleyn, then those old iconographical optimists of the 18th and 19th Centuries would have labelled it such.

This choker is a symbolic representation of Anne’s pride in her Boleyn identity. Even after she became queen, she continued to wear her B-letter choker.

An “A” pendant is worn by Elizabeth in the Whitehall Family Group Portrait.
The portrait  

2

Her ornate  French headdress is not simply a stylish piece of accessory; it is in fact an instrument which expresses her unique character. Her flattering French hood was associated with the ideas of sophistication, style and refinement and is embroidered with ‘As’.   (As seen on a pendant worn by Elizabeth I, pictured above)

Could this be a clover leaf or cross ?

For centuries, people have considered fourleaf clovers to be magical.  The four leaf clover was and is an universally accepted symbol of good luck with its origin ages old.  According to legend, Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden to remind her of Paradise (lost).   Each of the delicate little four leaves represent  FAITHHOPELOVE… And LUCK!  It was also a charm to ward off evil spirits and anyone wearing a clover would be able to see the little folk (fae).  To find, this symbolism around her headdress is fortunate indeed, the English have a tradition that if you dream of Clover, you’re guaranteed a happy and prosperous marriage.    

Historian Alison Weir is of the opinion that this portrait is a Cornonation portrait as Anne is holding either a Gillyflower meant ‘queen of delights’ or a  ‘Carnation’ that may derive from ‘Coronation’.   However, I believe the ‘Carnation’ is a symbol for ‘betrothal or marriage’ and that and the ‘Clover’ symbolism being worn both on her dress and French hood adds to this conclusion. 

Twiggie

Sources