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“Le temps viendra” by Emily Pooley, the creator of Anne Boleyn’s waxwork

Today we have a guest post by Emily Pooley, creator of Anne Boleyn’s beautiful wax work that is currently on display at Hever Castle. Emily kindly agreed to write an article about her interest in Anne Boleyn and how this wonderful wax figure was made. Enjoy!

Le temps viendra.

– by Emily Pooley, technical and special effects artist for television, film and live events.

At this moment, I am sipping a cup of tea looking out of my parent’s office window to the bottom of garden where I would sit for hours with my best friend Holly, patiently carving sticks into stakes -ready for our first encounter with vampires on our next trip to the woods down the road. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an idol of ours you see – 6:30pm, BBC2, telly on full volume for the intro music. We would train for hours, using the swing as an assault course, passing levels that we would invent.. preparing ourselves. When we created a sufficiently sharp point.. off we went. Deep into the woods.

What, I hear you cry, has this got to do with Anne Boleyn? Buffy was my first encounter with a strong and independent female role model. We were inspired and empowered enough to come face-to-face with a pointy-toothed demon and fight to the death. Of course, there was never any real threat and I have since been dragged kicking and screaming into the serious world of adulthood.. and I found myself looking to a real lady for inspiration, with an incredibly powerful story.

When our GCSE exams were over (finding that miraculously my method of cramming in as much research into the night before actually worked) it was time to plan ahead – what on earth was I going to do!? Like a large number of girls my age, my first port of call was: Vet. But after spending a long week of work experience at a veterinary clinic, clearing up ‘presents’ from the animals as they called it, the reality of work really set in. Don’t worry, Anne is near – ‘le temps viendra’ people!

I sat at home flicking through prospectuses for colleges deflated and racking my brains. This was interrupted by my weekly unmissable dose of Doctor Who. Again, full volume for the intro. Next came Doctor Who confidential on BBC Three courtesy of our brand new digibox, where Neill Gorton talked through the creation of one of his prosthetic monster make-ups. It suddenly dawned on me that people actually made a living out of making these things! This would be the programme that would set me on a path to a career in special effects in television and film.

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Anne Boleyn – the Glass of Fashion

“She was unrivalled in the gracefulness of her attire, and the fertility of her invention in devising new patterns, which were imitated by all the court belles, by whom she was regarded as the glass of fashion” / Nicolas Sander “The Rise and Growth of Anglican Schism”/

Although Nicolas Sander is the author of many myths about Anne Boleyn, he certainly was right when he described Anne Boleyn’s immaculate taste for fashion. Anne Boleyn  had olive skin and ‘black eyes’ – features not so popular in 16th century England where pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes were the most desirable traits in a woman.

Nicolas Sander, who was no contemporary witness of Anne’s life at court, wrote that she had many deformations like projecting tooth, six fingers on right hand and a large wen under her chin. But the next sentences are describing Anne as;

“(…) handsome to look at, with a pretty mouth, amusing in her ways, playing well on the lute, and was a good dancer. She was the model and the mirror of those who were at court, for she was always -well dressed, and every day made some change in the fashion of her garments.” (Nicolas Sander “The Rise and Growth of Anglican Schism” p. 25).

Although for centuries historians are echoing the statement of Agnes Strickland that:

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3D reconstruction of Anne Boleyn’s face

This is a 3D reconstruction of Anne Boleyn's face, based on National Portrait Gallery

I’ve always wanted someone to do a 3D reconstruction of Anne Boleyn’s face, based on her famous NPG portrait. it never happened so I decided to become this ‘someone’. I learned how to use a program for 3D face reconstruction. This program gives a chance to make a 3D face reconstruction based on photographs. Well, obviously we do not have Anne Boleyn’s photographs so I used her portrait. It was quite hard to do such reconstruction. At my first reconstruction, many of you commented that Anne looked like Cher. I admit – I got too creative with first work. But my second reconstruction is successful – I worked on it for few days, and here it is!

I based Anne Boleyn’s 3D face reconstruction entirely on NPG portrait. It came out very realistic and reconstructed Anne looks a lot like on her portrait. What is even more interesting – I noticed that after reconstruction, Anne looks similar also to John Hoskins’ miniature, and this miniature is the most authentic likeness of Anne Boleyn.

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Affair of the necklace

Miniature of Anne Boleyn by John Hoskins

Thanks to my friend, Maria who runs her own blog about Anne Boleyn, she shared with me an article that states that the ‘B’ necklace on Anne’s portraits stands for ‘Brandon’ and not ‘Boleyn’. Quite an interesting theory, isn’t it? I’ve decided to research this theory and I found few informations.

In her book ”The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 1485-1603”  Susan James states that famous portrait of Anne Boleyn showing her with ‘B’ pendant is Mary Tudor Brandon.  Susan James writes ,;

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Mary Boleyn’s portrait…? UPDATE

Copy of 'Mary Boleyn' portrait c. 1630-1670

You probably remember my article about portrait allegedly depicting Mary Boleyn. Historian and author Alison Weir claims that there are 6 versions of this portrait and that it probably depicts a royal sitter because of the ermine fur;

“The fact that there are at least six versions of the ‘Mary’ portrait indicates that there was demand for a portrait of the sitter, and she is wearing ermine, a fur restricted to the upper nobility and royalty.”[1]

I did a research about this and in this article I am going to write more about this portrait. I was looking for information about provenance of the portrait of ‘Mary Boleyn’ and confirmation of Alison Weir’s claim that there were ‘at least 6 versions of this portrait’.

I contacted Anna L. Splender who is a Deputy Head Steward at the Hever Castle. She kindly replied that;

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Mary Boleyn’s portrait?

Mary Boleyn...?

In her latest book ‘Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore’ Alison Weir points out that the famous portrait of Mary Boleyn may actually be a portrait of Frances Brandon, mother of Jane Grey. On her website, Alison Weir gives an explanation of this theory :

‘I’ve written a whole appendix on the subject of portraits of Mary Boleyn and William Carey. The fact that there are at least six versions of the ‘Mary’ portrait indicates that there was demand for a portrait of the sitter, and she is wearing ermine, a fur restricted to the upper nobility and royalty. So I suspect, given the proliferation of the image, that the sitter was royal. Anyway, the costume is that of the mid-1530s. There would not have been any demand for Mary at that time, given that she was little known and in disgrace (and probably living abroad) from 1534. The sitter bears no resemblance to portraits of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour or Margaret Douglas. She is too young to be Mary Tudor, who died in 1533. Could this be Frances Brandon? A wedding portrait from 1533? There is a resemblance in the nose to Charles Brandon in his ‘marriage’ portrait (yes, I think it is him, having done some digging last night, although I think it’s later than 1515/16.) Even so, that doesn’t quite explain the demand for pictures of Frances – she wasn’t that well known either! It would help if we could identify any clue or reference in the pendant or brooch, or the flowers, but they are too indistinct.[1]

For a very long I’ve been thinking about Mary Boleyn portrait, and something was not right. I agree with Alison Weir in few points :

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