Part of the remains of Richmond Palace, now part of a private residence. Photo May 2000.
I’m going to put some of the Richard III stories in a separate post later in the week since I already have several and there will be many, many more as the reinterment week progresses. So here’s the best of the rest!
* Elizabethan tapestry map to be displayed at University of Oxford’s Bodleian library – Map of Worcestershire from 1590s describes mysterious event in the hills near ‘The Worldesend’
* Before Wolf Hall there was Hardwick Hall – and the woman who would be Queen – This year marks 400 years since the death of Arabella Stuart, granddaughter to the powerful Bess of Hardwick, who was once touted as a successor to Queen Elizabeth.
* How Wolf Hall producers turned to Facebook to find red-haired child to play Elizabeth I – That is a seriously adorable little Elizabeth
* What the English of Shakespeare, Beowulf, and King Arthur actually sounded like – A fun, quick tour of the history of the English language with sound and video examples
And finally –
Is it possible to accurately recreate a loaf of medieval bread? – A talk by Richard Fitch, the Historic Kitchen Interpretation Coordinator at Hampton Court Palace, at the 9th Experimental Archaeology Conference held in January 2015. And if you’re at all interesting in historical cooking at Hampton Court Palace, be sure to give Richard at follow on Twitter at @tudorcook.
I’m so happy to be able to bring you this wonderful Q&A by regular commenter Foose with other regular commenter PhDHistorian about his new book A Queen of a New Invention: Portraits of Lady Jane Grey Dudley, England’s ‘Nine Days Queen’. My massive thanks go out to both of them for doing this so I can bring it to you all! Amazon US and UK ordering information for the book is at the bottom of this post and additional information on the book is available at the author’s website: Some Grey Matter.
1. What led you to the decision to buck the scholarly consensus that no verifiable contemporary portrait of Jane Grey survived – and to undertake your research?
Actually, at the outset of my research, the “scholarly consensus” held that the van de Passe Engraved Portrait, the first image discussed in my book, was a reliably authentic depiction of Jane Grey and was based upon some supposedly lost original. No less an authority than Sir Roy Strong, former Director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A Museum had given the engraving his stamp of approval some fifty years ago. Then the art dealer Philip Mould, of “Antiques Roadshow” and “Fake or Fortune” fame, paired in 2007 with the eminent Tudor historian David Starkey to declare that the Yale Miniature was a portrait from the life. With those two exceptions, there really was no other “consensus.” Jane Grey has largely been treated by academics as a footnote to Tudor history, so there was actually very little scholarly interest in identifying portraits of her. Even Susan James’s re-identification of the National Portrait Gallery’s painting (the Glendon Hall Portrait) was a product of James’s interest in Katherine Parr, not of any interest in Jane Grey. The iconography of Jane Grey was a very under-explored area, so I took on the task.
2. Why Jane Grey? Why not one of the other Tudors? How long has she been the focus of your historical interest?
I have been interested in Jane Grey since the late 1980s. Mary Luke published a “biography” of Jane Grey in 1986 that, though labeled by its publisher as factual history, was immediately and easily recognizable as nothing more than a historical novel. In the following year, Paramount Pictures released a movie about Jane Grey that was obviously full of historical inaccuracies and fabrications. I’ve always been easily irritated by Hollywood’s misrepresentations of historical narratives, so I decided to look into the “real” story of Jane Grey. And in order to do the project justice, I realized that I needed the formal training provided by a PhD program. So I returned to university as a mature student and earned a PhD in 2007 for my thesis on Jane Grey.
3. What sort of challenges and frustrations did you encounter as you pursued your theory?
The biggest single challenge, without a doubt, was gaining unrestricted access to the paintings themselves. For those held by a museum or preservation agency (e.g.; the National Trust), a limited degree of access was usually quite easy. I just visited the collection and viewed the objects in the same way that any member of the public might do, though I sometimes made the docents quite nervous when I got too close to the paintings! But few were willing to uninstall the painting to allow me unrestricted access to the entire object, front and back … and you’d be surprised how much information can be gleaned from the back of a painting! There were notable exceptions, of course, including the folks at Seaton Delaval Hall, home of the Hastings Portrait, who went to great lengths to facilitate my research, as did the curator at the Bodleian Library and the Earl of Normanton. But private owners in particular were sometimes exceedingly cagey about even acknowledging that they owned a particular painting, usually for security reasons. I pursued one owner for about two years before he finally relented and granted me access to his painting. And upon meeting him, I was better able to understand his reluctance. He was a stereotypically eccentric British aristocrat who had convinced himself that I should not see the picture until “the Divine” (as he referred to it) should give him some unmistakable sign to allow it. At our meeting, he spent over an hour regaling me with stories of his encounters with ghosts and his personal physical meeting with Jesus Christ.
Other paintings were very difficult to locate. I chased the Soule Portrait for several years, until a chance encounter through Ancestry.com finally led me to its current owner. And as Appendix Two of my book notes, there are a number of paintings that are mentioned in the historical record but that I have still been unable to locate. Others, such as the Klabin Portrait held in a collection in South America, were simply too remote geographically to visit.
4. What was most surprising to you as you conducted your research?
I think I was most surprised by the number of academic institutions that tended to accept without question the identifications attached to their paintings. Some of the most prestigious art institutions in the world were seemingly blind to the obvious incongruities between the supposed identification of the sitter as Lady Jane Grey and the actual depiction seen in the painting. But the reality is that most institutions lack the budgets and niche expertise to authenticate each and every one of the sometimes hundreds of paintings they hold. Most rely instead on outsiders like myself to eventually come along and do the work for them (and to do it for free).
5. Were you ever concerned that someone else might be on the same track? Were you ever discouraged?
No, I was never really concerned that anyone else was doing the same research on portraiture of Jane Grey and in the same way that I was. True, institutions like the National Portrait Gallery were conducting extensive research on single images, such as the Streatham Portrait, but none were approaching the topic in a broadly comprehensive and comparative manner. And all seemed to accept without question the work of their predecessors, including most critically that of Richard Davey and Sir Roy Strong. I chose to wipe the board clean and start from scratch, questioning in depth all evidence and conclusions from others.
6. When did you first realize that you might be able to find a surviving portrait of Jane Grey that preserved her actual physical features?
When I found the inventories of the possessions of Bess of Hardwick taken at Chatsworth House in about 1559 or 1560, and the inclusion in those inventories of mention of a portrait of Jane Grey, I realized that there was a slim possibility that a likeness might still exist which could be documented as authentic. I first saw that inventory in about 2005 or 2006. And very oddly, virtually no other historian working, even tangentially, on Jane Grey or sixteenth-century portraiture more generally seems ever to have been aware of the Chatsworth Inventory. Sir Roy Strong never mentioned it, for example, and neither have the current researchers at the NPG. It seems to have escaped notice for some reason, until Gillian White brought it to light when writing her PhD thesis on Bess of Hardwick’s possessions.
7. How did you feel when you identified the “true” portrait?
I would never make the claim that I have identified a “true” portrait of Jane Grey. Rather, I would say that I have confirmed that the Syon Portrait was intended by the artist who created it to depict Jane Grey, and that Sir Roy Strong was in error when he re-identified the sitter as Elizabeth Tudor. And while I do believe that the circumstances under which the Syon Portrait was created probably do give it the greatest likelihood of depicting Jane with some degree of accuracy, there is insufficient evidence available at this time to declare it categorically accurate. All I will claim for now is that it is perhaps the closest we shall ever come to a reliable authentic likeness, unless the Chatsworth or Lumley Portraits are somehow located.
8. The book is a staggering compendium of topics so diverse as the history of portrait painting, Tudor fashions in jewelry and furs, the art-collecting habits and vicissitudes of various aristocratic families, discussion of “Protestant” versus “Catholic” usages in records and letters, genetic inheritance patterns for physical features, the manners and morals of the 16th – and succeeding – centuries. This information adds weight and authority to your final conclusions. How did you develop your mastery of all this arcane knowledge or even know that these obscure details had to be considered in the development of your thesis?
“LOL” … I had not thought about it, but I suppose the book is rather full of “arcane” and “obscure” detail. But the devil is in the details, as the saying goes. And frankly, that is why I knew early on that I needed the training provided through PhD studies before I could properly undertake serious research on Jane Grey. I did spend almost ten years reading and studying all aspects of the history of the Tudor period. But I do also have deep personal interests in jewel history (I actually collect 19th century mourning jewelry), and in the manners and morals of any given era. The rest was simply gathered as I took classes and courses required for the PhD, or as I needed further background reading on some aspect of Jane’s life and times.
9. What do you hope will be the response of the academy and the scholarly community to your book?
It is my fervent hope that my book will spark sufficient interest in portraits of Jane Grey that others will keep an eye out for the many lost portraits, especially the Chatsworth and Lumley Portraits. And I hope, of course, that other scholars will confirm the validity of my conclusions and find my book useful. Lastly, I do hope that Jane’s name will be permanently removed from the many portraits erroneously labeled as her.
10. Some of the portraits presented as alleged images of Jane Grey seem clearly – and sometimes hilariously – way off the mark, even to an amateur’s eye, because of the style of dress or the age of the sitter, yet they have had professional historians, curators, and other experts backing up their claims. Why do you think this happens?
There is a huge misconception held by the general public, I think, that certain institutions are necessarily keenly interested in proving the authenticity of every object they hold or sell. It is true that institutions like the National Portrait Gallery do sometimes pursue extensive research on a limited portion of their collection (the current Making Art in Tudor Britain project, for example). But again, most institutions lack the budgets and niche expertise to authenticate each and every one of the sometimes hundreds or even thousands of paintings that they hold. Most rely instead on outsiders like myself to eventually come along and do the work for them (and to do it for free). And when no one comes along to assist, they instead leave old identifications unchallenged. The best that many will do when the label is patently wrong is simply to add the qualifiers ‘perhaps’ or ‘called’ to the identification.
Similarly, most members of the public probably view the major auction houses (Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonham’s, etc.) as universally authoritative on the works that pass under their gavels. The reality is again one of budgets. Authenticating a painting can cost a very great deal of money. Highly specialized scientific tests may be required and can often run into the thousands of dollars. Consulting with multiple experts on a particular aspect of a painting or object in order to build a case for authenticity can likewise cost thousands of dollars in consultancy fees. And all that expense comes out of the sale proceeds. Most sellers and auction houses want to maximize their income and thus will pursue authentication studies only if there is a reliable indication that the authentication will be confirmed and will raise the sale price of the object by many orders of magnitude. For example, if an object has a pre-sale estimate of a few tens of thousands, and authentication would not add four or more zeros to the figure, then it is really not worth spending three or four thousand to authenticate it. But if the object was acquired by the selling owner at a low price and only later suspected to be of high value, the cost of analysis and authentication may be well worth the gamble.
The Fulbeck Portrait is a perfect example of this. Sotheby’s accepted the owner’s traditional identification in 2002 because they knew that the painting was in bad shape and would sell at a relatively low price (a few thousand pounds). It was apparently not worth even the most cursory of checks, which would have quickly revealed that the painting was a direct copy of a fully authenticated work depicting Anna of Hungary and Bohemia. Easy to do, but not financially worth Sotheby’s time and effort. And making the effort might have had the opposite effect and actually lowered the value. A ‘possible’ Jane Grey might have more appeal in a London sale room than would a definite portrait of a relatively obscure continental royal. Such pecuniary considerations, and such lack of effort and lack of attention to detail, is far more common among even the most prestigious of ‘experts’ than most people realize.
There is also one other factor involved. The majority of art historians are trained as experts on one particular artist (e.g.: Holbein) or group of artists (early-sixteenth-century Netherlandish artists). Thus many art historians are often well-qualified to provide authentication that a work is by a particular artist. In contrast, authenticating the sitter in a portrait usually requires expertise on that person. Very few art historians have significant expertise on individual non-artist sitters, whether they are Jane Grey, William Shakespeare, Anne Boleyn, or some other historical person.
11. Has anyone disagreed with your analysis, so far? Were any current owners of supposed Lady Jane Grey portraits dismayed by your conclusions?
Yes, a few owners and even a couple of art dealers have been less than happy with some of my conclusions. The folks at Philip Mould Ltd, for example, were quite peeved that I challenged their conclusions on both the Wrest Park Portrait and the Yale Miniature. And I have been given to understand that the unnamed owner of the Wrest Park Portrait is similarly unhappy.
Conversely, the Earl Spencer was sufficiently appreciative of my work on the Althorp Portrait to send me a very kind thank-you note. Nonetheless, he continues to consider the painting to be a ‘representation’ of Jane Grey, largely for sentimental reasons. It can be difficult to have one’s life-long beliefs about a family heirloom up-ended, after all.
And the owners of the Soule Portrait are not entirely happy with my re-identification of the sitter in that painting as Katherine Grey Seymour rather than Elizabeth Tudor. I think this is again based on sentimental reasons.
But these are exceptions, and all are motivated by either financial concerns or sentimentality. The vast majority of the owners, both institutional and private, were very receptive to my conclusions. The National Portrait Gallery has already amended the cataloguing of many of its engravings said to depict Jane Grey, and the National Trust has relabeled some of the paintings in its properties. English Heritage has even sought my opinion on other related works they hold, as well.
12. Your analysis confirms there seem to be quite a few portraits of Catherine Parr extant, but few of Henry VIII’s other queens. Do you think that there probably were an equivalent number of portraits made of these women? If yes, do you think these portraits were destroyed or painted over, and if the latter, could they still be out there?
This is a good question with a rather complex answer. Portraiture of living persons was still a relatively new art form in the first half of the sixteenth century. Between the end of the Roman Empire in the fifth century and the Renaissance of the fifteenth century, most realistic portraits of living persons were simply small inclusions within a larger scene-painting that had a religious subject. Realistic or ‘depictional’ secular portraits seem not have become ‘fashionable’ until the second half of the 1400s. So even at the time Henry VIII became king in 1509, the art form was still a relatively new one, especially in England. Indeed, Henry VIII famously relied on continental artists such as Hans Holbein rather than on domestic English ones because the English had not yet mastered the form and its techniques. Based on this one factor alone, we would expect there to have been fewer portraits of his earlier wives and more of his later ones, as portraiture became more popular over time.
But the length of time that each of his six wives was actually Queen is also a factor. Katherine of Aragon was queen consort for 24 years, and was very popular among the general population. Lots of time to produce multiple portraits, and lots of people interested in preserving those portraits. Anne Boleyn, on the other hand, was queen for only 3 years, and she died in scandal. Far less time to produce paintings, and far fewer people interested in preserving them (and possibly even an official campaign to expunge images of her). Jane Seymour was queen for barely more than a year. But had she lived after giving birth to Prince Edward, I suspect that Henry would have commissioned a great many portraits of her in recognition of her having given him his much-desired male heir. Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard were each married to Henry for such short spans of time that I would expect very few portraits of either to have been produced during their marriages. Katherine Parr, on the other hand, seems to have had a personal fondness for the increasingly popular fashion of having one’s portrait painted and to have commissioned a large number of them herself (it is important to note that portraits were, in the first half of the sixteenth century, more commonly commissioned by the husband or father, not the female sitter herself). So the relative numbers of portraits that survive today depicting each of his wives does not surprise me.
13. Your book and some other recent works make it clear that for contemporary Tudor people, the Grey line of succession was an active political option with real teeth behind it (in contrast to the general view in 20th-century histories that Catherine Grey’s support was negligible and she herself a pretty idiot with no political acumen). Were you always aware of it or did it only become increasingly clear as you did your research?
This is a perfect example of the differences between popular history and academic history. Many writers of popular history are interested first and foremost in the telling of a good story. And sometimes that story, for a wide variety of reasons, does not accurately reflect the narrative that an academic specialist might present. Yes, during my university studies, it was pretty clearly outlined in most scholarly texts that Katherine Grey’s claim to succeed Elizabeth had significant support. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the claim of her sister Jane. Even today, most academic historians have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with what I refer to as the Janeian mythology that it is very difficult for them to consider alternative views. To most academics today, the succession dispute of 1553 can be explained by one or both of just two motivations: Edward VI’s desire to preserve his religious reforms from his Roman Catholic sister Mary, and/or John Dudley’s nefarious desire to maintain personal control over the monarch. No other motivation has yet been seriously considered, though I plan to do so through my biography of Jane.
14. If you can speculate – do you think a Grey queen could have been successful against challenges from the Scots line or Philip II as Mary Tudor’s widower? (assuming Elizabeth had died, or been killed, or executed)
I am not a fan of counter-factual history, so this is a question I would rather leave unanswered.
15. The book is beautifully produced, in terms of the portrait reproduction, the flow and just the overall look and feel of the covers. Did you oversee the process so it would come out the way it did, or rely on your publisher’s team?
Thank you for that very kind compliment! Actually, the entire layout, structure, page design, and cover design were all entirely my own work. I took inspiration from a number of gallery exhibition catalogues to create my own book design. I had to teach myself how to use Adobe InDesign in order to create a fully print-ready digital file of the book, but I enjoyed the process. As the saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself!
16. What’s next for you? Are there other Tudor mysteries that you plan to explore?
I am still trying to re-write a manuscript on the life of Jane Grey and the succession dispute of 1553 that I hope will be published sooner rather than later. But after working on it off and on for so many years, it becomes quite tedious to keep doing the same thing over and over. Still, I do try to keep soldiering on!
I am also working on a translation of Michelangelo Florio’s Historia de la vita e de la morte de l’Illustrissima Signora Giovanna Graia. Despite the title, it is not really a biography of Jane Grey, but is instead a spirited treatise on the Calvinist doctrine of predestination with Jane deployed as an exemplar of an “elect of God.” I believe it will be of interest to those pursuing Reformation studies.
17. What about the Lumley portrait? Do you think it could ever be rediscovered or traced in some way?
Sadly, I rather doubt that it will ever be located. The Lumley Inventory has been very extensively studied, and numerous art historians have made very concerted efforts to locate as many paintings from that inventory as possible. But so many paintings have been lost over the centuries to neglect and decay, or been disfigured by over-aggressive cleaning that removed the Lumley cartellino, or been over-painted in botched attempts at restoration. I will be very surprised if the Lumley Portrait ever turns up.
Thanks again to Foose and PhDHistorian for this very informative Q&A! Feel free to leave comments with additional questions.
Ordering links at Amazon:
Short round-up this week!
* Priceless Royal coat of arms unearthed in walls of 15th century cottage – The stone Tudor coat of arms may have links to Elizabeth I and Henry VIII but had been used as building material in cottage
* Week of exclusive live programming for burial of King Richard III – Details from Channel 4 on their upcoming coverage of Richard III’s burial in Leicester Cathedral
Medal of Anne Boleyn, the only known likeness from her lifetime and subject of the biggest Tudor news story of the past few weeks
Yes, finally, I’ve gotten around to doing another news round-up! The last few weeks have been insanely busy and therefore insanely tiring, so some things fell by the wayside (blogging, laundry, etc.) But now I’m getting caught up, so here’s a mega news dump.
The biggest ‘news’ of the past couple of weeks in the Tudor-sphere was the story about facial recognition software that was used on images of Anne Boleyn, which spawned a bunch of articles such as the two below:
But it didn’t take long for those knowledgeable in Anne Boleyn’s portraiture to respond with a bit more level-headed analysis than the hyperbolic headlines. A few examples of those below:
* Update on Nidd Hall Portrait and 1534 Anne Boleyn Medal – From Claire Ridgway at The Anne Boleyn Files, who actually contacted the project coordinator and surprise! – the press got it all wrong.
And here’s a bunch of random, interesting articles that I saved:
* Wolf Hall in The National Archives – Nice compilation of documents from the UK National Archives with examples of real-life documents related to events in episodes of the Wolf Hall series.
* Hampton Court’s lost apartment foundations uncovered – A routine maintenance job at Hampton Court palace has uncovered the lost foundations of the splendid royal apartments of two ill-fated queens, Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour.
* Skirret: the forgotten Tudor vegetable – Wolf Hall has unearthed Tudor delights, ignored for centuries the sweet root vegetable has returned to Hampton Court
* Cambridgeshire church plague graffiti reveals ‘heartbreaking’ find – “Heartbreaking” graffiti uncovered in a Cambridgeshire church has revealed how three sisters from one family died in a plague outbreak in 1515.
* Henry VIII’s evidence to support break with Rome turns up in Cornish library – Book of legal and philosophical advice on king’s efforts to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled helped change the course of English history
* Mary, Queen of Scots to get first statue – Her life was full of murder and intrigue and she is famous across the globe. But there has never been a public statue of Mary, Queen of Scots in the country of her birth.
* York announces ceremonies to mark Richard III reburial – Events on 26 March include a civic procession through the city, an address by the Lord Mayor and a special service at York Minster.
I know February is a short month to begin with, but it really seems to have flown by this year!
The one book I missed from last month was Virgin Queen by Catherine Corman:
And now on to the new books!
First up is Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran. It’s out in March in the UK and June in the US:
Next is Henry VIII’s Last Love: The Extraordinary Life of Katherine Willoughby, Lady-in-Waiting to the Tudors (US title: Henry VIII’s Last Love: The Life of Katherine Willoughby) by David Baldwin will be released March 15 in the UK and May 19 in the US. (And if you’ll allow me a small editorial comment here: I’m very happy to see a new work on Katherine Willoughby out, a fascinating woman in her own right, so it frustrates me that the book has to market her as “Henry VIII’s Last Love”. I understand that all things Henry VIII are hot and that’s what will attract attention but she had an extraordinary life that extended well beyond the death of Henry VIII, so I’m hoping that gets just as much focus. Okay mini-editorial over. )
And Thomas Cromwell will be getting a new biography, entitled The Rise of Thomas Cromwell: Power and Politics in the Reign of Henry VIII, 1485-1534 by Michael Everett at the end of March in the UK and end of April in the US:
And finally – the third installment of Nancy Bilyeau’s Joanna Stafford books, The Tapestry, will be released on March 24 in both the UK and US. Stay tuned for a guest post from Nancy in March in conjunction with the book’s release!
After the successful run of the stage versions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK, the productions have moved to Broadway in the US and will open March 20, 2015 and will run through July 5, 2015 (assuming they don’t extend the run – and I wouldn’t be surprised if that did indeed happen). You can learn more about the Broadway run, including ticket information at wolfhallbroadway.com.
I think this week has a record number of videos!
But first, another in the long string of historical properties I’d love to be able to afford:
A follow-up to a story I wrote about last July:
And now on to the videos!
* Preview for US airing of Wolf Hall – It will be on PBS’ Masterpiece starting Sunday April 5.
* An interesting insight into the research behind designing the look of Wolf Hall with Catherine Fletcher, one of the historical advisors to the show:
* A look at Cardinal Wolsey’s Hampton Court by Jonathan Foyle:
* And finally, a talk by Jessie Childs at the Jaipur Literature Festival on her book God’s Traitors: Religious Terrorism in Elizabethan England (The sound is low on this one, so if you turn up the volume to listen to it watch out for other sounds that might come up really loud and startle you like my new mail alert did!)
Heraldic panel from 1518, Swabia, Germany. The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo August 2006.
This is one of a pair of panels (the other was posted two weeks ago) celebrating the marriage of Barbara von Zimmern and Wilhelm von Weitingen, representing the union of two well-established families of the area.
I don’t think I missed any books last month, and I don’t have any US releases of previous UK publications, so it’s straight in to the new books this month!
A Queen of a New Invention: Portraits of Lady Jane Grey Dudley. England’s ‘Nine Days Queen’ by J. Stephan Edwards is due out in both the US and UK on February 12, the anniversary of Jane’s execution. Followers of the Q&A Blog might know the author better by the name “PhD Historian”, one of the regular commenters there. I’ve also featured links to the work that he has posted on his website Some Grey Matter over the years, which gives you a good idea of the amount of detailed scholarship that has gone into the book.
The book is available via Amazon (links below), but if you would like a signed copy you can also order one directly from the author.
And the other new book this month is The World of Richard III by Kristie Dean. Any readers here who are also on my TudorTalk YahooGroup might recognize this author’s name too! The book is a travel guide to the places associated with Richard III that you can still visit today and it will be out in mid-February in the UK and in April in the US.
* One month left! – The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered display at the National Portrait Gallery opened September 12, 2014 and will run through March 1, 2015. I’m so jealous of everyone who has had a chance to see this… I’ll just have to console myself with my copy of the accompanying book.
It should be no surprise that there was a lot of news last week coinciding with the premiere of “Wolf Hall”! I’ve just a made a few selections from a bunch of articles that came across my path.
* Adapting Wolf Hall for TV: how I played historical guessing game – Catherine Fletcher writes about being a historical advisor on “Wolf Hall”.
* Seductress or Scholar – The Real Anne Boleyn – Leanda De Lisle writes about Henry VIII’s second Queen for Newsweek
* Where to find the best Tudor sights in England – As the dramatisation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall begins its run on BBC Two, historian Suzannah Lipscomb reveals her favourite Tudor homes and palaces around the country
* Tudor timeline: 10 momentous dates – It was one of the most transformative periods in English history, but which dates in the Tudor calendar had the greatest impact? Historian Lauren Mackay maps out the top 10
* Rare Tudor hat finds new home at Hampton Court Palace – Hat linked to Henry VIII acquired by charity Historic Royal Palaces in Hampton Court’s 500th anniversary year
A fascinating look into the recreation of a Book of Hours for “Wolf Hall” by professional calligrapher Patricia Lovett:
It makes me want to dig out my old calligraphy supplies and start doing it again! (Like I really have time to start doing another hobby, even if it was one I used to do. Sheeesh.)
Yeah, I’m a little late getting this posted, but at least it’s still January!
Last year I wrote about the various goals that I had for 2014, both personal and for the site. I did okay on some, terrible on others, but I’m going to set goals for myself again in 2015 and hopefully keep a little better account of them. (You can read more about my personal goals for last year and what I have in store for 2015 over on my personal blog.)
On the Shakespeare Challenge, I only made it through one third of the plays, but I did manage to read all of the sonnets. A little trivia – if you read a sonnet a day starting on January 1 and in a non-leap year, you’ll finish them on June 3. I’m planning to continue this challenge and read another third this year and next, so I’ll have read all by the end of 2016. I originally started the challenge in honor of the Bard’s 450th birthday, but this way I’ll finish them by the 400th anniversary of his death.
On the rest of last year’s goals: I totally failed. I didn’t manage to post one single book review. So, this year I’m going to make another attempt at that. I’m going to aim for six reviews, although they may cover more than one book in each review since I have a few that would work nicely as pairs. I did manage to do a few behind-the-scenes things on my to-do list, but I didn’t get to any of the really big ones I was aiming for. So I’ll keep working on those as well.
One other thing to note for this year – by one way of counting (more on that in a minute) this is the 20th anniversary of this site. The reason I say “by one way of counting” is that the site has gone through several iterations, and this is the 20th anniversary of the first one. I think the first page about my Tudor History interests that I put on my personal website actually dates from late 1994, but I know that it was going strong by mid-1995 since that was when I started thinking about splitting it off into its own thing and when I started my current job full-time (and yes, I’m getting a 20 year plaque for that this year). It didn’t actually end up it’s own site until July 1997 (after the Elizabeth I pages were previously on GeoCities – remember that?? – in 1996, I think). So 2017 would be another 20 years milestone. This year is also the 15th anniversary of the site at TudorHistory.org domain, which I originally bought on July 9, 2000. I’ll probably do a full post on the history of the site later in the year and bore everyone with more details than anyone could possibly want.
Best wishes for 2015 everyone!
Heraldic panel from 1518, Swabia, Germany. The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo August 2006.
This is one of a pair of panels (the other will be posted in a couple of weeks) celebrating the marriage of Barbara von Zimmern and Wilhelm von Weitingen, representing the union of two well-established families of the area.