Roland Hui's argumentation is as follows:
«Thomas Boleyn’s birth date can be construed by his testimony given during the 'Great Matter' of the King’s divorce. Called as a witness, he gave his age as 52 on 15 July 1529. If he was Hornebolte’s 47 or 48-year-old sitter, that would date the miniature to 1524 – 1525. For Thomas Boleyn, it was the latter year that was of especial significance to him. After years of loyal service to the crown - as a squire of the body, keeper of the Exchange, ambassador to the Netherlands and to France, controller of the household, and treasurer – the diligent Sir Thomas was finally elevated to the peerage as Viscount Rochford on 18 June 1525.»
I find his argumentation persuasive. And there is a resemblance between the miniature and the effigy of Thomas Boleyn.
There have been several tentative identifications of this miniature. Amy Robsart Dudley, Jane Grey Dudley or even Elizabeth I Tudor when a princess.
One theory is that it is a wedding picture of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen. Eric Ives argues that it cannot be Jane Grey because (among other considerations) Lady Jane Grey was too young, and says: «If the sitter was a Dudley wife and the miniature is a wedding memento, the acorns suggest Amy Robsart, who married ... at the precise age of 18 (Robert, robur, Latin for oak).» (Ives 2009 pp. 295, 15–16). Chris Skidmore concurs with this, adding that Robert Dudley used the oak as a personal symbol in his youth (Skidmore 2010 p. 21).
J. Stephan Edwards discounts the possibility of her being Lady Jane Grey also.
The Royal Ontario miniature can be dated conclusively to the mid-1520's based on the fashion of her costume. This miniature has been through several rounds of identifications. It was firstly known as Katherine of Aragon, then as Jane Seymour, and lastly as Anne Boleyn.
«The picture of an English woman from the reign of Henry VIII was known as Katherine of Aragon when it was recorded in the collection of Horace Walpole in 1774, and was presumably called that by its previous owners going as far back as Charles II. After it was acquired by the Duke of Buccleuch in the next century, the identity of the sitter was changed to Jane Seymour.' The Royal Ontario Museum, which obtained a duplicate of the miniature in 1978, also accepted her as Henry VIII’s third wife. Both versions were subsequently renamed. The lady was clearly neither Katherine of Aragon nor Jane Seymour when compared to authentic portraits of them. As Hornebolte’s clientele seemed to be confined within the royal circle, and that the miniature was replicated, indicated a sitter of particular importance. The most plausible choice was the wife-in-between – Anne Boleyn.»
After Master John
Portrait of Lady Jane Grey
oil on canvas
72 7/8 x 42 7/8 in. (185.1 x 108.9 cm.)
The Earl of Denbigh, London.
Acquired by the Countess Nadia de Navarro, Glen Head, New York, before 1964.
This painting was in 2016 sold as lot 346 by Christie's as Portrait of Lady Jane Grey after Master John, property from the estate of the countess Nadia de Navarro.
Of course, anybody who knows anything about the portraiture of either Lady Jane Grey or Katherine Parr knows that this is another version of or a copy of the Glenford Hall portrait or NPG 4451 of Katherine Parr.
Since the provenance is clearly given as Earl of Denbigh there can be little doubt that this is the portrait referred to above, that it was in the collection of the Earl of Denbigh in 1774, and that the portrait was known as Katherine Parr in 1774.
A copy of the Hastings or Melton Constable Portrait of Katherine Parr sold in 2013 shares the colouring of the Denbigh version. This portrait was sold in 2013 as After Lucas de Heere: Portrait of Lady Jane Grey After the Haughton Portrait.
There's ... not actually a bit of that description that is not wrong.
Lucas de Heere was not in England in time to paint either Katherine Parr or Lady Jane Grey.
By 'Haughton' I presume is meant the Houghton Portrait of Lady Jane Grey, to which this portrait bears little resemblance.
Instead it appears to have been a direct copy of Lady Jane Grey by George Perfect Harding (British, b. ca. 1780–1853).
It is entirely possible that George Perfect Harding was familiar with both the Hastings or Melton Constable Portrait and the Denbigh Portrait of Katherine Parr.
His lifetime puts him in close proximity with the 1774 statement from the Walpole Collection of a known portrait of Katherine Parr being in the Earl of Denbigh’s collection at Nuneham Padox, Warwickshire.
Notice the squared brim of the French hood and the raised neckline with ruffles.
On the portraits avove, we a full length portrait of Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk, aged 16 in 1556, a later bust length copy of the same portrait, and the Fitzwilliam portrait of an unknown lady formerly called Mary I when Princess by Hans Eworth from the same period.
For more examples of fashion in the 1550's in England see our 1550's and 1560's page.
The known miniaturists, known at the time as limnists, of the Tudor Era were:
Hans Holbein the Younger c.1497 – between the 7th of October and the 29th of November 1543. Holbein travelled to England in 1526 in search of work, with a recommendation from Erasmus. He was welcomed into the humanist circle of Thomas More, where he quickly built a high reputation. After returning to Basel for four years, he resumed his career in England in 1532. This time he worked under the patronage of Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell. By 1535, he was King's Painter to King Henry VIII. In this role, he produced not only portraits and festive decorations but designs for jewellery, plate and other precious objects. His portraits of the royal family and nobles are a record of the court in the years when Henry was asserting his supremacy over the English church.
Lucas Horenbout or Hornebolte c.1490/1495–1544. Horenbout was born in Ghent, where he trained with his father, Gerard Horenbout, becoming a Master of the local Guild of Saint Luke in 1512. Gerard was an important Flemish manuscript illuminator in the dying days of that art-form, who had been court painter, from 1515 to about 1522, to Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands. Margaret was twice sister-in-law to Katherine of Aragon, still Henry's (first) Queen when the Horenbouts came to England. Horenbout came over to England at an unknown date with, or perhaps before, his sister Susannah Hornebolte and his father. His father Gerard is first recorded in England in 1528, and later returned to the Continent, probably after 1531; he had died in Ghent by 1540. Susanna, who was also an illuminator, is recorded in 1529 as married to a John Palmer and in England. Lucas is documented in England from September 1525, when he was first paid by the King as "pictor maker". By 1531 he was described as the "King's Painter", and this appointment was confirmed for life in June 1534, when he became a "denizen" – effectively a naturalised citizen. Horenbout was very well paid, at sixty-two pounds and ten shillings (but only thirty-three pounds and six shillings according to Richard Gay) per year, a "huge" sum according to Strong, and better than Holbein's thirty pounds a year in his period as Henry's court painter.
«Portrait miniatures such as this were initially developed to meet the demand for portable, dynastic images to serve as prized diplomatic gifts. A miniature of Henry VIII and one of his daughters, Princess Mary, was given to Francis I, King of France, in exchange for two miniatures of Francis I’s sons, which were sent to Henry VIII in the autumn of 1526.» The Royal Collection
Levina Teerlinc b. Bruges, 1510–1520?; d. London, 23 June 1576. Levina Teerlinc was a Flemish Renaissance miniaturist who served as a painter to the English court of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. In 1545, she moved with her husband, George Teerlinc of Blankenberge, to England. During her time in England, she served as the royal painter to Henry VIII, whose royal painter, Hans Holbein the Younger, had recently died. Her annuity for this position was £40 – rather more than Holbein had been paid. Whilst she was a real celebrity, no works by her are currently known. Later she served as a gentlewoman in the royal households of both Mary I and Elizabeth I. In 1559 Levina Teerlinc was appointed tutor in painting to the King's daughter at the Spanish Court.
But first, could this miniature really be of Anne Boleyn?
I agree that at first glance the miniatures bears little likeness to how we are used to thinking of Anne Boleyn. I am thinking of course of the NPG picture of Anne Boleyn and the Hever painting of Anne Boleyn, and of all the paintings made after the same pattern, like the John Hoskins miniature.
There is, however, a different tradition for portraying Anne Boleyn.
In her only authenticated image, the Most Happi medal from 1534, the prototype for a series of medals made to celebrate the birth of a son that was not to be, Anne Boleyn is wearing an English gable hood in the style of the mid-1530's.
In the Nidd Hall portrait she is wearing the same type of hood.
And if you compare the two miniatures to the Nidd Hall portrait and the Most Happi medal side by side we can see a clear likeness.
We can see the shape and colour of the flower being repeated in the pattern of the lady's gable hood.
Whatever flower, it must have had some sort of special significance to the wearer.
Searching for the meaning of forget-me-nots in Tudor imagery, I came over a website: Symbols and Meanings in Medieval Plants, that outlines several flowers of particular importance in Tudor imagery, amongst others:
The flowers on the lady's gable hood in the Buccleuch miniature could be a sprig of cowslip.
And then the meaning assigned to cowslip in Tudor times becomes interesting. Gates were certainly opening for Anne Boleyn, and she would have been very interested in opening them.
Having or being the key to opening those gates would certainly have been of interest to her.
Could this be an example of the cheeky humour, her sharp pertness, that was so much a part of Anne, and which so attracted Henry until it didn't anymore?
And through her bodily ascension ... Could that have been a playful little cheeky joke to the one who was paying for the portrait?
Or from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn?
That the gates of Heaven would open up for her through her bodily ascension?
He did initially attempt to persuade her to take on the role of official royal mistress, after all. His maîtresse-en-titre, his official royal mistress, an arrangement inspired by the French. An offer that so offended Anne Boleyn that the King had to work very hard in order to get back into her good graces.
Whatever its meaning, the sprig of flowers gains in significance when you realise that whoever the artist or artists of the Royal Ontario and the Buccleuch miniatures were, they made the conscious choice to replace the sprig of flowers either from yellow to blue or from blue to yellow.
Barring discolouring, the sprig of yellow flowers has been replaced with a sprig of blue flowers in the Royal Ontario miniature.
This may be for several reasons. One is that the original reason for the choice flowers might have been lost so one might have sought to replace them with something meaningful for the new patron.
Another is that if we are right in the assigned meaning of the flowers, it was thought to be too bawdy for a copy that was to be for their child. Not to mention inappropriate, as everyone at the English court would have been uncomfortably aware of how their romance ended.
Which brings me back to my search for the meaning of forget-me-nots in Tudor imagery.
Could the blue flowers be forget-me-nots? And if they were, were their meaning anything close to the same as we would ascribe to them today?
According to Symbols and Meanings in Medieval Plants the meaning of forget-me-nots in Tudor times were:
A legend tells of the Christ child sitting in his mother’s lap, and wishing that future generations could see them like this. So he touched her eyes and waved his hand over the ground and forget me nots sprang forth. Wherever they are found or represented it reminds the viewer of the strength of maternal love, especially the Virgin’s for our Lord.
There is also the addition of a pendant in the Royal Ontario miniature. A pendant that looks almost flowerlike. Going back to our Symbols and Meanings in Medieval Plants, searching for flowers that bear a resemblance to the pendant worn by the lady in the miniature, we find this:
There is, however, nothing in the known facts about Anne Boleyn's life to indicate that early spring would have had any kind of special significance to her. Anne's only child, Elizabeth, was born on the 7th of September 1533, Anne's secret wedding to Henry VIII took place on the 14th of November 1532, and their formal one on the 25th of January 1533, Anne was crowned Queen of England on the 1st of June 1533, and her elevation to the peerage as Marquess of Pembroke took place on the 1st of September 1532.
Even her namesake saint's day was in the middle of the summer, the Feast of St. Anne on the 26th of July.
If anything, Anne's life was curiously devoid of good things happening in early spring.
We must therefore look for at the other meanings. If the pendant on the necklace is indeed a hellebore surrounded by lilies of the valley, the other meanings assigned these two flowers become significant.
Hellebore is associated with the infant Christ, lily of the valley with his mother's grief. Put together you have the symbolism of a mother and her small child and the grief and sorrow of the separation between them by death.
Not unlike the situation of Anne Boleyn and her daughter Elizabeth I.
The third significant difference between the two miniatures are the brooch on lady's gown.
I know that I confidently asserted before that I could make out Anne Boleyn's falcon symbol on the brooch on the lady's gown in the Buccleuch miniature. It is, in fact, quite impossible to make out what it is. It might be Anne Boleyn's falcon symbol. It can just as easily be the personal symbol of any of Henry's other wives, for that matter.
Or something completely different.
In any case, Anne did not become Marquess of Pembroke until 1532 and Henry's Queen until 1533, necessitating the need for a personal emblem, well after the Buccleuch miniature was painted. It could still be the Ormond falcon, though.
Anne’s identification as ‘the white falcon’ has its origins in the heraldic crests of the Butlers, earls of Ormonde. In 1529, Thomas Boleyn was recognised as the Butler heir and the falcon appears as a crest on his brass in Hever Church
The artist who copied the Buccleuch miniature must have been as equally at a loss at we are, because while the general outline of the figure on the brooch is followed, the figure now resembles that of a lady.
Elizabeth herself? Her mother keeping her over her heart?
A thank you from Anne Boleyn to Katherine Parr, Elizabeth's beloved step-mother?
Or to Katherine Howard, also her step-mother and her mother's cousin, who was very kind to the child Elizabeth, calling her 'kinswoman' in a time not many claimed affinity with the executed and disgraced Anne Boleyn and her demoted child?
Or perhaps even all of the above? A homage to all the women above.
Miniatures Attributed to Lucas Horenbout
As I was scrolling I noticed that one of them had a lot more letters on them than the others.
I had of course noticed this lettering before, but simply assumed that they were Roman numerals.
You'll have to forgive me, but we did not have Latin in school. Barely Roman numerals. I naturally recognised V and X, and I thought that I would now take the time to find out what O and R stood for.
Much to my surprise, they didn't appear to be Roman numerals at all. Could it be a word? VXOR? I tried googling it, and got only gobbledygook. I thought about it until I finally remembered this weird word I had once read, uxorious, which I had had to look up.
uxorious – having or showing a great or excessive fondness for one's wife
I tried substituting the V with a U. Could it be the Latin word for or have something to do with the Latin word for wife? Now that I had found the solution on my own, Google was obliging. UXOR is indeed the Latin word for wife.
Now that I had understood that it was indeed words, and not just Roman numerals, assembling the rest of the text and translating it was easy.
* REGINA * KATHERINA * EIVS * UXOR * – Queen Katherine his wife
There was another one that seemed to have more text on it than the others. That one said:
REX * HENRICVS * OCTAVVS – King Henry the Eight
Okay. So King Henry the Eight and Queen Katherine his wife. That seemed clear enough. But ... Wait a minute. Weren't it only posthumous miniatures that were inscribed? Isn't that why are struggling to try to identify these? Because it wasn't usual to inscribe miniatures and paintings with names?
Could the miniatures ... be posthumous?
'The model is believed to be his friend Magdalena Offenburg, who may have been Holbein's mistress. Venus and Amor was painted after Holbein's return to Basel following a short stay in France. While in France, he had access to the collection of Francois I, and it's believed likely that this work was one of his early responses to his exposure to the Italian painters of the era. Such influences can be seen in the gesture of Venus, whose pose closely echoes that of Jesus in Leonardo's 1498 Last Supper.
In addition, her long, oval, idealised face seems closely modeled on Leonardo's depictions of the Virgin Mary.'
Could it be possible that somebody saw this painting or a copy or a print of it and thought that it instead was a picture of the Virgin and Mary and the Christ child?
And thought the outfit of the Queen of Heaven quite appropriate for the Queen of England?
We must also not forget that Hans Holbein the Younger painted these paintings in 1524-1526, making the outfit of the woman in the picture appropriate for the time, if not the place, that Mary I Tudor would still have been a beloved child and both in possession of her parents and of their love.
For an artist born in the low countries in the 1510's, such as court painter Levina Teerlinc, this is the fashion for women she would have remembered from her childhood and early youth as women wearing in the mid-1520's.
The miniature shows more evidence of attempting to recreate someone, rather than drawing someone from life.
All in all I cannot help but ask myself the question: Was this a miniature created after Katherine of Aragon's death? A miniature which set out to recreate the queen, rather than paint her from life?
A portrait commissioned by her grieving daughter, Mary I Tudor? Mary, who we know loved her mother?
One of a set of two portraits, the first of her father at an age when he was still the devoted father to Mary, the husband of her beloved mother?
King Henry the Eight and Queen Katherine his wife.
One of the first things Mary I Tudor did when she ascended the throne in 1554 was to order a bunch of portraits of herself.
Is it so without the realm of reason that she would also have commissioned a couple of pictures of her parents, her parents, whom we know she loved?
Was it for this reason that Levina Teerlinc was paid more than Holbein? For the ability to recreate what had been?
In her tenure as court painter to the Tudor house from 1546 to 1576 she served Henry VIII Tudor, Edward VI Tudor, Mary I Tudor and Elizabeth I Tudor.
Levina Teerlinc received an annual salary of £40 from 1546 to her death in 1576, as granted by Henry VIII, which was more than had been granted to Holbein, a man most would agree readily easily that surpassed her in genius and brilliance.
All of Henry VIII children were motherless, having lost their mothers early in dramatic and tragic circumstances. Edward VI would also have lost the woman whom he loved as a mother and who was as a mother to him, Katherine Parr, during his reign.
Henry VIII too lost his parents early, and his grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, who had a hand in raising him.
How much would you have been willing to pay for beautiful pictures of aquaintances, and how much would you have been willing to pay for the image of a lost loved one?
It is not as if posthumous paintings were outside of the norm.
This portrait of The Family of Henry VII with St. George and the Dragon was painted c.1505-9, was painted when five of the nine family members in it were dead.
An article about the exhibition at Hampton Court Palace in which this portrait was displayed touches upon this:
«The Family of Henry VII with St George, a fantasy portrait of Henry VII with his then dead wife, and his dead and living children. It was painted to emphasise the fruitfulness of the new Tudor dynasty, making more secure Henry VII's questionable claim to the English throne.»
It is thought to have been commissioned directly by Henry VII from a Flemish artist working at his court.
This could be the same cross, therefore putting a dent in our theory, that this in this particular case of this miniature was jewellery not inherited from wife to wife, but rather posthumously assigned from Jane Seymour to Katherine of Aragon in an effort to recreate an image of the latter after her death.
Crosses were hardly unusual or controversial jewellery for the time period, however, and were worn by a wide slew of women.
However, on close examination I saw that it was only Anne’s left eye and her nose that had been displaced and that all other details could be viewed in great and precise detail. The quality of craftsmanship was so high that even the weave of the fabric on her headdress, the jeweled billiment and the necklace could be identified as that worn by Jane Seymour in a portrait by Holbein.»
Miniature of Katherine Parr, in which she is wearing a cross
However, even at the risk of discrediting my own theory, I must admit that the cross Anne Boleyn is wearing in the Most Happi medal looks as if this could very well be the same cross as the one Jane Seymour is wearing in her miniature and the Whitehall Mural.
However, does it by that naturally follow that Anne Boleyn inherited the cross from Katherine of Aragon?
Well, as Claire of The Anne Boleyn Files writes, Henry VIII took Katherine of Aragon's 'jewelry from her to give to his new love'.
The incident is recorded in Letters and Papers:
«But though on this matter of the journey and interview the courtiers appear cold and indifferent, certain it is that the Lady [Anne] thinks otherwise, for knowing very well how to make hay while the sun shines, she has not been slack to provide herself with rich and most expensive dresses and ornaments, which the King has ordered to be bought for the occasion. After sending her his own jewels (baghes), the King has, I hear, lately given the duke of Norfolk commission, and he has come down here on purpose, to procure through a third person those belonging to the Queen; who, I am told, said to the bearer of the Royal message: "., cannot present the King with my jewels as he desires, inasmuch as when, on a late occasion, I, according to the custom of this kingdom, presented him with a New Year's gift he warned me to refrain from such presents in future. Besides which (she said) it is very annoying and offensive to me, and I would consider it a sin and a load upon my conscience if I were persuaded to give up my jewels (baghes) for such a wicked purpose as that of ornamenting a person who is the scandal of Christendom, and is bringing vituperation and infamy upon the King, through his taking her with him to such a meeting across the Channel. Yet," continued the Queen, "if the King sends expressly for my jewels I am ready to obey his commands in that as well as in all other matters." Though highly displeased and sore at the Queen's answer the King nevertheless did send a gentleman of his chamber, who brought express orders to the Queen's Chancellor, and to her Chamberlain, to see to the delivery of the said jewels (fn. n4) besides a letter to the Queen herself in credence of the messenger, who said to her in the King's name that he was very much astonished at her not having sent her jewels forthwith when he first asked for them, as the queen of France, her sister, and many other [ladies] would have done." (fn. n5) Upon which the Queen gently pleaded excuse for her former refusal, and sent him. the whole of her jewels, and the King, as I am given to understand, is very much pleased and glad at it.»
So that was ... heartbreaking.
(It does, however, seem as if Katherine was in possession of some of her jewellery when she died, and had enough control of them to bequeath them to whom she wished, in this case her daughter Mary. Highlighting perhaps the difference between a Queen's personal property and what belonged to the Crown? Or simply that she dared to keep something that was unequivocally hers, in spite of Henry.
Katherine of Aragon's will: «Desires the King to let her have the goods she holds of him in gold and silver and the money due to her in time past; that her body may be buried in a convent of Observant Friars; that 500 masses be said for her soul; that some personage go to our Lady of Walsingham on pilgrimage and distribute 20 nobles on the way. Bequests: to Mrs. Darel 200l. for her marriage. To my daughter, the collar of gold which I brought out of Spain. To Mrs. Blanche 100l. To Mrs. Margery and Mrs. [Whyller] 40l. each. To Mrs. Mary, my physicians [wife, and] Mrs. Isabel, daughter to Mr. Ma[rguerite], 40l. each. To my physician the year’s coming [wages]. To Francisco Philippo all that I owe him, and 40l. besides. To Master John, my apothecary, [a year’s wages] and all that is due to him besides. That Mr. Whiller be paid expenses about the making of my gown, and 20l. besides. To Philip, Anthony, and Bastian, 20l. each. To the little maidens 10l. each. That my goldsmith be paid his wages for the year coming and all that is due to him besides. That my lavander [her laundress] be paid what is due to her and her wages for the year coming. To Isabel of Vergas 20l. To my ghostly father [her confessor] his wages for the year coming. That ornaments be made of my gowns for the convent where I shall be [buried] and the furs of the same I give to my daughter.»
It would indeed appear that Jane Seymour was less squeamish about wearing the possessions of her predecessor as they were left her.
In addition to the headdress and necklace, she could very well have obtained the cross the same way, wearing the cross looking precisely as it had done when her predecessor had worn it, without having the jewels re-set.
One thing that does perhaps speak for it being Katherine of Aragon's cross is that her daughter, Mary, can be seen wearing it in two portraits from a year after she became queen. One is Mary I (1516–1558), Queen of England and Ireland by Hans Eworth, shown further up on this page and today at Burlington House. The other one is the portrait below, Queen Mary I, also by Hans Eworth, purchased by the National Gallery in 1972 with the help of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton:
The only thing I can find to suggest that the cross originated with Anne, is if it were a play on names. Anne famously loved jewellery that incorporated her initials. This type of cross is also called a St. Anthony's cross. St. Anthony – Anne. That is such a feeble suggestion, however, that I am ashamed to make it.
However, the fact that Mary is wearing the cross does not necessarily negate the idea that it originally originated with Anne Boleyn. I do not know how much contact Mary actually had with her step-mother after Anne became Queen. It is quite possible that Mary never actually saw Anne with this cross, and instead associated it with Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr, two step-mothers who were kind to her.
It is entirely possible Mary that simply thought of it as a «Queen's cross», after having seen it around the throat of many successive Queens of England.
From the later portraits of her, it does not appear as if Anne was fond of ostentatious jewellery.
It has often been bemoaned that none of the existing portraits of Anne are contemporary.
However, perhaps in one sense, that has allowed Anne to appear as people remembered her, not as she wished to appear?
What people remembered, were clearly her dark hair, French hoods, personalised jewellery and her elegance.
«Hollar must have copied her portrait from one of the miniatures of the queen attributed to Lucas Horenbout, such as the example now in the Buccleuch collection.»
The c.1502 Michael Sittow painting, which exists in at least two versions, could also fall under the category of Katherine of Aragon dressing 'opulently'. She is pictured wearing a heavy gold collar.
This one doesn't look like a watercolour that has been left out in the rain in the slightest, nevertheless it is the work of Lucas Horenbout/bolte.
«Portrait miniatures such as this were initially developed to meet the demand for portable, dynastic images to serve as prized diplomatic gifts. A miniature of Henry VIII and one of his daughters, Princess Mary, was given to Francis I, King of France, in exchange for two miniatures of Francis I’s sons, which were sent to Henry VIII in the autumn of 1526.» The Royal Collection
The second of these two last curious elements, and for which I can find no explanation, is that if you look at the close-up of the miniature of Katherine of Aragon with the monkey, it looks like in the upper part of the blackwork embroidery on her shirt that the stitches go directly into her throat. There is no cloth there to support it.
This gives the creepy effect that it looks as if her head has been sewed back on.
Ironically, Katherine of Aragon was not one of the two wives Henry VIII had beheaded.
«This is a particularly striking instance of Hornebolte's style with characteristic bold modelling of the features and pouting scarlet lips.» Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620 by Roy Strong (1983), p. 37. Kimiko
But what if the style that we have all come to think about as typical Hornebolte was in fact ... somebody completely different?
Looking at this miniature of Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford, you perhaps realise why I had not connected the handwriting on the earlier miniatures to Levina Teerlink specifically. None of her later miniatures seem to display it.
Upon realising that the inscriptions may have been originally hers, I have been wracking my brain for a possible explanation for why she might have ceased adding them to her work.
The only thing that occurred to me was the rising prominence of François Clouet. He was born as early as 1510, but to the best of my abilities, I cannot find that any of his more prominent work was painted any earlier than the late 1550's. He then remained very active until his death in 1572.
He painted a very fine miniature of Henry II of France, but perhaps some of his most iconic work were the miniature of Mary, Queen of Scots, now in the Royal Collection, and one of Catherine de' Medici.
The gilded bronze sculpture on the tomb depicts Margaret with her head resting on pillows and her hands raised in prayer, wearing garments characteristic of widowhood; the face was probably sculpted from a death mask.
Yet another source to Margaret's appearance would have been those who knew her, and particularly those who knew her well, like Henry VIII and others.
As we can see, based on the still existing sources, it is quite a good likeness.
If we examine these three miniatures, there are some striking similarities between them. The lettering is similar, they are all three of them inscribed, unusually for the time, and they all appear to be painted by the same hand.
Of course, this is no very controversial statement. It has always been assumed that these were painted by the same hand.
By necessity we also know that the Margaret Beaufort miniature was posthumous.
What is new is my suggestion that the other two are posthumous too.
Lord George Stuart
According to the Royal Collection, the earliest known provenance for the miniature of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset is 'Lord George Stuart; by whom given to Charles I(?)'.
George Stewart (or Stuart), 9th Seigneur d'Aubigny (17 July 1618 – 23 October 1642) was a Scottish nobleman and Royalist commander in the English Civil War. He was the son of Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox, and his wife Katherine Clifton, 2nd Baroness Clifton, and the brother of James Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond and 4th Duke of Lennox, and of the Royalist commander Lord Bernard Stewart.
Stewart, his older brother Henry, and younger brother Ludovic were brought up at Aubigny in France as Roman Catholics under the charge of their paternal grandmother, the old Duchess-Dowager, Katherine de Balsac.
Stewart's father, the Duke of Lennox, died in 1624, and Stewart became a ward of his cousin, King Charles I of England. He inherited the Lordship of Aubigny at the age of 14 on the death of his elder brother Henry in 1632. By 1633, he was a student at the Collège de Navarre, part of the University of Paris, and he did homage to Louis XIII of France for the lordship of Aubigny on 5 August 1636, shortly after his eighteenth birthday. Later that year he moved to England.
In 1638 he secretly married Katherine Howard, the daughter of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, and Elizabeth Home, without her father's consent, offending his guardian the king.
Katherine Howard, Lady d'Aubigny and George Stewart, 9th Seigneur d'Aubigny
Probably painted on the occasion of their marriage in 1538
Sir Anthony van Dyck
A very entertaining write-up of their romance can be found here:
'Luckily, it seems that all’s well that ends well and the happy couple were forgiven for their transgression and welcomed back to court, where they enjoyed much favour. Their London residence was on Queen’s Street near Covent Garden and it was there that in January 1640 her younger sister Lady Margaret Howard was married to Roger Boyle, the 1st Earl of Orrery.'
Could we perhaps here make an educated guess that the gifting of the miniature of Henry Fitzroy to Charles I happened at this point in time, at the reconciliation? As either a part of getting back into the king's good graces after the clandestine marriage, or as a thank you gift that they had?
George Stewart, 9th Seigneur d'Aubigny, was of French-Scottish heritage on his father's side, making it unlikely that he had inherited the miniature from his own kin on his father's side. His mother was Katherine Clifton, the daughter of Sir Gervaise Clifton, 1st Baron Clifton (c.1570 – 14 October 1618), and Katherine, a daughter of Sir Henry Darcy (a previous Knight of the Shire).
Sir Gervaise Clifton, 1st Baron Clifton Clifton was a son of Sir John Clifton (d.1593) of Barrington Court, Somerset, by his wife Anne Stanley, daughter of Thomas Stanley, 2nd Baron Monteagle (1507–1560) and Lady Mary Brandon (1510–1540/4). Sir John Clifton's father was a London merchant, Sir William Clifton (d.1564), who had purchased the manor of Barrington from Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk.
There does not appear to be any immediate connection between any of his ancestors and either Anne Boleyn (or indeed any member of either the Boleyn or Howard family) or Henry Fitzroy. Of course, Mary Brandon, Baroness Monteagle, spent most of her time at court. But neither she or her husband appear to have been a part of the circle around Henry Fitzroy, which included his wife Mary Howard, his cousins Lady Margaret Douglas and Henry Grey, his wife's brother Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and William Parr, Katherine Parr's brother.
Furthermore, until 1536, he lived in France, making opportunities to gift miniatures to the king sparse.
The most logical course of events is that the miniature was brought into the marriage by his wife, and that it was gifted to the king after this marriage had taken place in 1538.
But who were her family?
Well, she was a Howard, of course. As the biography states, she was the daughter of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, and Elizabeth Home. This immediately triggered something in my memory. Upon perusing my notes, I saw that this was the same Theophilus Howard who was the great-grandfather of Lady Elizabeth Percy, wife of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset and the first known owner of the Royal Ontario miniature.
Did the miniature of Henry Fiztroy come from his wife, Mary Howard, and thence through the descent from her brother's children to Katherine Howard's husband, Lord George Stuart?
Or as a gift from Elizabeth I to Dorothy Devereux together with the Royal Ontario miniature?
But wait a moment. After writing the above sentence, I read through it, and then I read through it again.
How does that work?
It was Dorothy's son Algernon Percy who married Theophilus Howard's daughter Elizabeth, and that was in October of 1642, when Charles I had been imprisoned since June of that year, and presumably not receiving any gift of miniatures.
And that was obviously quite a different daughter than Theophilus Howard's daughter Katherine, who was the one who married George Stewart (or Stuart), 9th Seigneur d'Aubigny, the first known owner of the Henry Fitzroy miniature, who gave it to Charles I, and who would die on the 23rd of that same October, making the timeline quite impossible for it, even if a merry gift-giving of miniatures had been going on right in the middle of the civil war.
But wait. Hadn't I come across Theophilus Howard's name in yet another place while researching this?
I checked my notes.
Yes. Theophilus Howard was the one presented the RCIN 420640 and RCIN 420010 miniatures of Henry VIII to Charles I by c.1639.
No less than four of the inscribed miniatures have a link to Theophilus Howard.
Lord George Stuart, the first known owner of the miniature of Henry Fitzroy, was married to Theophilus' daughter Katherine.
Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, the first known owner of the Royal Ontario miniature, was married to the granddaughter of Theophilus' daughter Elizabeth.
But it can be equally certainly be stated that the oil painting itself was neither the work of Hans Holbein the Younger or Lucas Horenbout/bolte, because they were both dead by the time of the Mary Rose's sinking on the 19th of July 1545.
So who executed the oil painting with such skill?
From Wikipedia: «The gold background is of a later date. According to art historian John Rowlands, "Although this drawing has been enlarged on all sides and heavily reworked, enough of it still shows to allow the assumption that the original work was executed by Holbein. The inscription, although late in date, evidently records an earlier one, of which slight traces remain. There is no evidence to suggest that Holbein ever executed a painted portrait based on this drawing". Painted versions of the drawing by other hands exist, including one by Lucas Horenbout, in which the left-handed Holbein is holding a paintbrush. Art historian Stephanie Buck notes that Holbein's direct gaze suggests he was looking into a mirror. Holbein died not long after completing this self-portrait, probably of the plague.»