Anne Boleyn Hever PortraitPhew, what a whirlwind of a weekend so far! As well as being knee deep in records of monumental brasses – see yesterday’s post on “The Lost Boleyns”, I’ve also made a YouTube video on Anne Boleyn’s appearance and portraiture!

I’d really welcome your feedback on this video as it’s my first video with me actually speaking. Please do watch it and leave your comments on YouTube, all ‘likes’ really do make a difference and I’d love to know if you want to see more as I’m planning to do them regularly.

Click here to see this video on my YouTube channel.

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22 thoughts on “New YouTube Video on Anne Boleyn’s Appearance”
  1. Claire,
    Brava! If I did not know anything about Anne but wanted to learn, This video would get me on the right track. Very, very descriptive without being tedious, enough information without being confusing and the pictures are beautiful.

    Well done!

  2. I think you did very well and I agree with your assessment. It appears to me that the Hever likeness is probably the closest likeness we will ever get! It is a shame that so many portraits have been lost, as I am sure that Henry VIII had many portraits done of the woman he worked so hard to obtain.

  3. Terrific video, and thank you!

    I know you love the Hever Rose portrait, but the National Portrait gallery picture one was always the clincher for me, because of that very strong resemblance to Elizabeth. If you look at the coronation portrait of Elizabeth, it seems that the eyes of the National Portrait Gallery depiction of Anne are the ones looking back at you from Elizabeth’s portrait.

    The Nidd Hall portrait. I’m sorry to say, is ugly as sin, and I kind of wonder if someone added the AB medallion after the fact, so someone could show it off to the visiting Elizabeth as a picture of her mother.

    A pity politics always stood between them, and Elizabeth could not acknowledge her mother, or try to exhonerate her or defend her reputation. I seem to recall reading that Mary I, shortly after her ascension to the throne, had bills run through parliament invalidating the divorce between Henry and Katharine, which restored Katharine to her rightful title of Queen, and Mary herself to legitimacy.

    How different history would read if Elizabeth could have done the same for Anne, and made sure that any records of Anne were more accurate than the character assassinations that are the basis of most people’s assumptions of Anne.

    I would LOVE it if a treasure trove of papers came to light, that could be authenticated beyond shadow of a doubt, filling in the blanks, and giving a fairer portrayal of Anne. Then again, there are so many surprises yet to be discovered – I seem to remember how surprised and happy people were that a picture of Lady Jane Grey, as Queen, was found not too long ago.

    1. I do love the Hever one because of the colouring and also the fingers, which I forgot to mention, because they are so similar to Elizabeth’s fingers in the portrait of her as a princess. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a lost portrait came to light! Eric Ives writes of how Lord Lumley owned a full length portrait of Anne Boleyn in 1590 and that it existed as late as 1773 and I suspect it is in a private collection, which is such a shame. Wouldn’t you just love to see it?!

      1. Nice video, Claire!
        Do you think that Anne’s original portrait is in private collection? I would like to see it so much! 😉
        My favourite portrait of Anne is NPG portrait. I think it is very possible to be the closest likeness of her, because of Elizabeth. There are two portraits of Elizabeth I, that are so similar to NPG’s Anne. I made a short video about ‘Portrait with verses’ and NPG portrait.
        The resemblance between them is undeniable.
        I also believe that Holbein’s sketch inscribed ‘Anna Bollein Queen’ is not Anne, but perhaps other great lady from the Tudor court – Duchess of Suffolk – I noticed a likeness between two Holbein’s sketches :
        I also think that Nidd Hall portrait is very similar to NPG, it’s like an ‘older version’ of NPG’s. For some reasons, this portrait has been identified as derived from likeness of Jane Seymour. I have to disagree with that ; not only this portrait is similar to the medal from 1534, but it just doesn’t match Jane Seymour’s appearance. If you look at Jane’s famous portrait by Holbein, you will see that her eyebrows, eyes, nose and face shape is much different than Anne’s Ndd Hall portrait. Nidd Hall portrait depicts woman with oval face, dark brown eyes and sallow complexion. It is very similar to facial expression from National Portrait Gallery, and the medal from 1534. I personally believe that Nidd Hall portrait and NPG are very similar, and this is the closest depiction of Anne.

  4. Great video Claire.
    Anne Boleyn’s portraiture has fascinated me for years and I have collected pictures to study and visited many museums and galleries to see paintings of her.
    I agree that the Hever/NPG face pattern is as close as we will get to knowing her true appearance.
    I have even traced over the only true image, the British Museum medal, using what remains of her image to try and reconstruct the face (that one huge eye and the rather large nose albeit rather bashed!). I was surprised to see a resulting face not a million miles away from the NPG type. I am no great artist and it is possible a thousand different people could try this and a thousand different faces would emerge, but for me this exercise was telling.
    However, one of my fave paintings of Anne is a modern interpretation, the Ludlow Castle Lodge portrait. I love her expression and its symbolism.I asked the owner on one of my visits to the lodge, if I could photogaph it, and now a very good copy of this image hangs on my wall!
    Maybe you could make another video about other more modern paintings of Anne and how she is perceived , including the twee Victorian images up to and including the Ludlow one with its six fingers on both hands! ( Must admit that is one feature of the painting I am less fond of)

  5. Claire,

    Just watched your video on Anne’s portraits, and found it extremely interesting. You did a great job, and look forward to more of them.

  6. Great job!! I agree with you and Eric Ives as well, Anne must have had the long, oval face and high cheekbones.

  7. Well done, nice to hear the voice of the person we ‘speak’ to on the site. Loved the video on the true likeness of Anne, like you when I envisage Anne it is the Hever rose one. Though I do like the N.P. one too, even if the hair/eye colour is not true to her discription, maybe it was the artist’s interpretation of how he saw her… anyway can’t wait for the next episode.

  8. While cruising around on YouTube looking at the various Anne Boleyn clips, I found one of a production I didn’t know about, a 1972 (?) feature-length version of “The Six Wives…” with Keith Michell as Henry again. (Still the best Henry ever–those scary, suspicious eyes!) All the wives are different from the television version, and Charlotte Rampling was cast as Anne. She looks fabulous, even though her eyes are the wrong color, and plays Anne’s flashy, “bewitching” side very well.

    One viewer–an ABF fan, I’ll bet–noted that the script was poor, and portrayed Anne too negatively. Still, I’d love to see it. What does anyone else here think of the film?

  9. Great video and very interesting. We will never really know what she looked like–that’s sad. Personally, I go with Holbein. He was so good at making those quick sketches for later paintings–he didn’t care about the clothing, he could work that out. He cared about catching the soul of the person. If the Holbein drawing is indeed of Ann, that’s likely what she looked like.

  10. Loved the video. I keep looking at the one sketch and it looks like her cap is tied underneath her chin, which does give you the appearance of a double chin. I notice two bows under her chin and I was wondering if one was from the gown she was wearing. I assume there is no date and it makes me wonder if Holbein was drawing from memory. Maybe that is why it looks different from the others. Just speculating of course.

    1. It’s true that (assuming this actually is Anne) a tightly tied cap could give the impression of a double chin. And pregnancy can make the face fuller!

  11. I tied a hat on my head with a piece of ribbon and I did look like I had a double chin. Interesting about what can happen to you if you are pregnant. I never had any kids so I was not aware that your face could look fuller. Thanks for the information.

    1. that was my thoughts on the Holbein sketches – perhaps these were preliminary sketches he was doing to get a feel for her look and she was pregnant at the time. Loved the videos Claire!!!!!!! they really give me a better feel for Anne and her times.

  12. The portrait on this page of her is beautiful. It’s the nicest picture of Anne. I imagined her as being a like a friend of mine I used to have who was slight in build, fine bone structure but a long, elegant nose and with a flat chest, dark eyes and dark hair and a long thin neck.

  13. People commented that her skin was “swarthy” or “troubled with jaundice”. How dark could she be? I have a feeling that she had a yellow undertone and may have been a little darker than most english women at court. Swarthy to me means olive skin tone. Where would she have gotten that? WHat is her ancestry?
    Anyway I always picture her as having very dark auburn hair and large dark brown eyes.

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