I was flicking through a copy of the BBC History Magazine, don’t ask me which I own quite a few, and I came across a photograph of a painting done of Anne Boleyn by an unknown artist.
The actual painting is in the National Portrait Galley in London and above is my meagre attempt to recreate it. Well some of it. I ran out of paper at the bottom.
In secondary school I could not draw faces. They would always be out of proportion, warped and weird. I’m still not amazing but you can at least tell that Anne is supposed to be a human being. In the last five years my skills with a pencil have improves significantly, it just took time, practice and patience. The same as any skill.
For those of you uncertain who Anne Boleyn was, she was the second wife of Henry VIII of England. They married after Henry’s divorce from Catherine and Aragon and she is seen by many historians as a driving factor in some of Henry’s more protestant-esq reforms. She is considered to have furnished Henry with a number of books discussing Protestant theology during their courtship.
However, as with most of Henry’s wives, things ended badly. Accused of sleeping with his own brother, among others, Anne met her end under an executioner’s sword. She, like her predecessor, failed to produce a male heir and perhaps more significantly, made powerful enemies at court, Thomas Cromwell among them. There is little doubt that the enemy she made in Cromwell helped her towards the block and the deaths of those who went with her weakened the power of the Boleyns at court.
The Tudor Court was a dangerous place. Even for those highest among it.