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News in the world of royal portraits yesterday: Art dealer Bendor Grosvenor (@arthistorynews) shared with me on Twitter that the above drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger has now been formally identified by himself and David Starkey as Anne Boleyn.

Further, it is the only likeness of Anne to have been made from life!

Well, the news coming “yesterday” was news to me and others, but apparently this goes back to 2007; here’s an article in the Daily Mail and another from United Press International.

The first thing that strikes me about this portrait is the tiny bump just under the bridge of Anne’s nose, so like the one in the Darnley portrait of her daughter.

UPDATE: Bendor was kind enough to print this on the Art History News site this morning, which should answer all your inquiries.  

UPDATE, PART DEUX: Going by all the social networking sites’ chatter on this topic today, many of you are passionate one way or another about the Anne Boleyn portrait identification issue — Passion is a good thing!

Several are hesitant to believe that “this plumper” or otherwise non-glamorous sitter might be the great AB; remember that pregnancies (current or past) can alter a woman’s face. Also, when Anne biographer Eric Ives dismissed this, he’d compared it to the [very damaged] portrait medal. Add to this that the king & queen accepted guests whilst in their nightclothes, on occasion!

Can anyone be 100% sure? Probably not. But I think the latest (as in, since 2007) conclusion makes a good case. Thanks for all your discussion on the matter, here or elsewhere in cyberspace! Our Tudors never seem to lose relevance.

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7 Comments

  Anne Barnhill wrote @

Wow, this is lhe last portrait I would have supposed to be the real deal. I can’t imagine why she, so elegant, would have allowed such an informal portrait….and she looks bloated. Could she have been pregnant? I’d be very interested to see how they went about figuring this out! THanks!!

  Anonymous wrote @

Daughter. You mean ‘the Darnley portrait of her daughter’. Of course, I know you know this!

  barbalexander wrote @

Ooops! Clearly my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet this morning. Fixed; thanks! =)

  Anthony wrote @

I am from the Tudor Dynasty on FB. We are following one another. I loved that picture you did of Henry VIII. I actually used the picture and credited you and also made an article of it. It would be cool if you could check it out on my blog site. http://www.thetudormonarch.com. Thanks. I look forward to hearing more about AB.

  barbalexander wrote @

Thanks for including the Henry pic on your page, Anthony! Good job on the site.

  SG wrote @

A clear, intelligent face – that fits with my notion of Henry engaging with an intellectual equal.

And the swelling under the chin fits with part of Parsons’ posthumous description.

  SG wrote @

Sry, Sanders’ description – mixed him up with a gameshow host!


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