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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Artwork of the day

Anne Boleyn, unknown artist, 16th century (probably c 1533-1536), oil on panel, National Portrait Gallery, London
It's always difficult to identify centuries-old portraits and even more difficult to date them. This is one of the very few portraits of Henry's second wife and the attribution is almost certain. The mother of Elizabeth I, known for having reigned for only 1000 days, was the great passion of the king who broke with Rome in order to be able to divorce his first wife and marry Anne. Three years later and after Anne had several miscarriages, she was accused of adultery and incest and was executed. Her passionate love affair with the king (from which a number of love letters survive), her allegedly explosive character and tragic end have made her one of the most famous English queens of all time.

Picture from the National Portrait Gallery,

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