This is Not Anne Boleyn

 Another person has come forward with research on a portrait claiming that it's Anne Boleyn. 

It's not.

I'm not going to post a pic of the portrait in question because the author of the study has mentioned not having permissions to post the whole image himself.

Instead, I'll post the image it's a copy of. 

This painting is NPG 96, a portrait of an unidentified woman, c. 1570. It has been previously identified as Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I, but neither of those identifications hold up.

The portrait the author is claiming is Anne Boleyn is a copy of this one, merely changing the dress color and a few details. The overdress is red and the sleeves are white and gold. The stuffed and slashed shoulder rolls are rendered as flat flaps, likely because the artist misinterpreted what he/she was seeing in the original. The woman wears a gable hood without its lappets, which drops down instead of curving upward, as was the fashion of the day.

The white part is the "lappets." In 1536, when he claims this portrait was made, the lappets came to mouth level and curved outward. The hood in his portrait comes straight down to the chin.

The author claims every other portrait of Anne, including the medal which is the only undisputed life portrait of Anne, are incorrect. He claims Anne was beautiful when literally everyone said she was not.

The woman has gray-blue eyes. The author claims that Anne had unusually large pupils, which is why contemporaries remarked on Anne's "black and beautiful" eyes. I'll just say he's the first to document such a trait and leave it at that.

The back of the portrait has a coat of arms consisting of three hunting horns. The author claims that Anne had these arms invented by the artist for her. But that's not how heraldry worked; you couldn't willy-nilly invent a set of your own arms on a whim. Secondly, women didn't have their own coats of arms. They used those of their husband or father. Anne was granted a coat of arms to use as England's queen, but they certainly weren't her invention, and they marked the noble families she descended from, as did all sets of royal female arms.

These are Anne Boleyn's arms.

The author claims that Anne's deformed finger is depicted in the painting. Even if we decide to believe Anne did have a finger deformity (and that's a BIG if, considering it wasn't mentioned until at least half a century after her death) it would be extremely unusual for such a thing to be depicted in art. The people of the Tudor era believed physical imperfections to be the sign of the devil. It seriously strains the imagination to think that Anne would choose to have it painted in her portrait. 

The author claims that Elizabeth intentionally copied her mother's pose and dress style in a portrait of her own. What a coincidence the clothing reflected the current fashions in Elizabeth's day. As someone online remarked, to believe it's Anne would be expecting she had psychic powers regarding the fashions of her daughter's era, like a woman in the 1920s wearing a tie-dyed shirt and bellbottom jeans.

It's possible this portrait was intended to be a posthumous tribute to Anne Boleyn the way Mary Tudor Brandon's portrait with Charles Brandon was painted after her death, depicting her in current fashion. Late in Elizabeth's reign, people displayed portraits of Anne to try to curry royal favor. 

The NPG portrait and the Hever portrait of Anne were probably made around this time. Though they depicted her in contemporary styles, they used a face pattern of Queen Elizabeth, as the "new Anne Boleyn portrait" may have used NPG96 as a pattern.

However, the author pinpoints the date of this portrait to January, 1536, and unless he's found a receipt that every other historian has somehow overlooked, it's yet another leap we have to make in order to accept it. 

The author points to this engraving as "proof" that the sleeves in the portrait were current in Anne's day, but it's actually a misidentified engraving of Jane Seymour's Whitehall Dynasty Portrait, and the original doesn't have "puffy sleeves."

True, the research hasn't been released yet, but I can't imagine any research which would overturn everything we know about fashion, heraldry, and the appearance of Anne Boleyn.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. It will be added after the administrator screens for spam.

Share on Tumblr