[MR] History Blog: Anne of Cleves Portrait Restored

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 2 03:07:14 PDT 2024

Noble Friends,

Yesterday's History Blog reported on the restoration of the famous Anne of
Cleves portrait that fooled Henry VIII.

Hans Holbein the Younger was commissioned to paint Anne in 1538 when she
was put forward as Henry's 4th wife/queen/victim. Holbein created a
portrait that while perhaps not flattering Anne, did put her "in the best
light", so to speak. Henry liked the painting, and agreed to the marriage
contract. As most of us know, His Majesty was less than pleased when he
actually met Anne at the end of 1539, declaring to his cronies, "I like her
not!" The marriage went downhill from there and may have been
unconsummated, or perhaps it was. Either way, Anne was arguably the
luckiest of his ex-queens, as she and Henry mutually agreed to an annulment
with a generous settlement. Anne kept her head, was welcome at court, and
officially became a "Beloved Sister of the King". They remained on good
terms for the rest of Henry's life.

Somehow Holbein also kept his head. Not so Thomas Cromwell, who had urged
the marriage. He went to the block on 28 July 1540, largely because of this

The painting somehow ended up in the Louvre when it opened in 1739, perhaps
not valued by the English (some of whom today probably regret letting go of
such an important piece of their history). It has recently had an expert
cleaning, removing layers of varnish to highlight Anne's charming
expression, her vibrant red dress and a lovely blue background. Now we can
see why Henry was beguiled.

The History Blog story is at https://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/69825 .

More about Anne is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_of_Cleves .

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆
Continuing a crusade to keep Merry Rose relevant and in business.

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