Anne Boleyn Gallery

When viewing the gallery please keep in mind that the task of identifying 16th century portraits is often a difficult one. In recent times we have seen experts debate the identities of many Tudor portraits as new information comes to light.

Unfortunately, in the case of Anne Boleyn there is not one undisputed, definitive contemporary portrait to have survived instead only likenesses remain. If we use these existing likenesses and examine contemporary descriptions of Anne we can start to piece together the puzzle and create an image of what Anne Boleyn may have looked like.

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  1. Hello again. I have always thought the portrait of Anne in the Gable hood in her later years (Bradford art galleries) was most probably the most realistic of her. I have always believed it to be her. Could you give me any information on it? When was it painted? Why do people dispute that it is contemporary of Anne? I think a lot of authors discount it because it isn’t what they view Anne to look like, ie; not the beautiful young woman who captured Henry’s heart. Personally I think it fits the ‘thin old woman’ description. This is my personal fave of Anne.

  2. Much speculation still rages a ound the portraits and depictions of Anne Boleyn. But we can decipher constants from them -a striking brunette with a delicate appearance. If we can accept those depictions as generally being of Anne Boleyn such as the NPG traditions for instance. We get to see see Anne’s elegant fingers in the Hever portrait where she holds a red rose and there is an element of her grace in that image. Anne Boleyn was a charming woman and something of that charm conveys in her smile and even her eyes (particularly in the famous NPG portrait). Sterling work Natalie, bravo.

  3. Jacki Milbank says:

    I see them as all so different. Some striking and elegant, some fat and elderly ! Damn I wish we knew.

  4. Howard Jones says:

    Recently I put on eBay a print titled Lady Bergavenny and suggested it was a portrait of Anne Boleyn. As part of her criticism of this identification Claire Ridgway suggested that the Hever Rose Boleyn painting was also formerly known as the Radclyffe Boleyn portrait.
    This is incorrect. They are two different pictures. There is now a print of the Radclyffe portrait on eBay if anyone should wish to check if I am correct and if Claire was mistaken . (Search eBay UK for “Anne Boleyn Radclyffe Portrait” to find the Raddcyffe picture.
    I have suggested before and will repeat the identifications for many Tudor portraits are confused and incorrect.
    An odd feature of the Hever Boleyn is that Regina is spelt with a C. My spelling is not good but even I now that this is spelt with a G and not a C.
    Currently this Hever portrait appears to have no previous provenance prior to its arrival at Hever presumably while it was still owned by the Astor family.
    Does anyone know when this very beautiful painting of Boleyn arrived at Hever?

    • Just to clarify, as I am Claire Ridgway and I have been mentioned by Mr Jones here, I have never said “that the Hever Rose Boleyn painting was also formerly known as the Radclyffe Boleyn portrait”, I simply wrote in my article on the Lady Bergavenny image that Mr Jones had stated in his letter to me that “the sitter’s facial features match other portraits of Anne Boleyn, such as the Radclyffe portrait/Hever Rose portrait”. Art historian Bendor Grosvenor, who with David Starkey borrowed the Hever Rose portrait from Hever Castle, wrote of its provenance being Mrs K Radclyffe. I note that Mr Jones disputes this provenance but, even so, his photo on eBay and the Hever Rose portrait are versions of the same image.

      • Linne Moore says:

        Hi again Howard…another couple of points to consider..1 the approximate age of the sitter in the Bergavenny portrait……There are not the wrinkles suggestive of middle age ,but perhaps the sitter is near 30 something?If we accept Anne’s birth year as 1501,Then it would be consistant ,and another thing,Anne was already awarded Marchioness/Marquess of Pembroke before her coronation,which Would have entitled her to the richness of those garments,as the highest ranking lady in the land (apart from the Queen),the hangings of the sleeves in the colour version of the Bergavenny portrait look like cloth of gold,and another interesting point off note,that the sitter is wearing what look like quatrefoils (like a four leaf clover) in the patterns of the gable headress,the trims and the jewellery that the sitter wears

    • Linne Moore says:

      Hi Howard..I have long been a fan of Anne Bolryn and I think you are quite right…..Did anybody pass comment to you about the “Wen” (swelling) on the right hand side of the supposed Lady Bergavenny’s neck….not only this but compare Nidd hall portrait, Holbein’s sketch, the moost happy medal and Lucas Horenbouts miniatures of the taped gowns worn by Anne and Mary Boleyn in each…and I think you will get where I am going with this…plus the jewellery in the nidd hall portrait and the medal are similar to the Bergavenny portrait…

  5. Meanwhile, I think Oona Kirsch made a very fetching Anne Boleyn.

  6. Howard Jones says:

    Claire Ridgway above says she wishes to clarify things, but ends by saying thgat the Radclyffe ‘photo on eBay and the Hever Rose portrait are versions of the same image’ What does she mean by this. On eBay I have a print of the Radclyffe portrait and it clearly is not the same imageas the Hever portrait. The Hever Rose picture and the Radclyffe portrait are two different paintings. so for Clare to suggest that they are ‘versions of the same image is unhelpful.and will not increase clarity.
    The Radclyffe painting looks as if it is an authentic early Tudor style portrait of Boleyn. Tthe Hever portrait is an idealised painting of Boleyn which was either based on the Radclyffe painting or else on something almost identical.
    The print called the Radclyffe Boleyn on eBay shows this painting of Anne Boleyn which was illustrated in Sir Roy Strong’s ‘Tudor and Jacobean Portrait.’s’ (London 1969.
    The location of the old panel portrait of Boleyn which had belonged to Mrs K Radclyffe is at present uncertain. But we can be certain that it is not the Hever portrait which was loaned for the Lost Faces Exhibition for David Starkey and others.
    The sinuous jawline for the Radclyffe Boleyn portrait appears to match the unusual lower jawline of the portrait of her father Sir Thomas Bullen as he is depicted on the brass plate on top of his tomb in Hever Church.

    • When I said I wanted to clarify things I was referring to Mr Jones misquoting me. I’m not replying further as I have asked Mr Jones to stop contacting me and to stop using my name and website in his eBay descriptions for his images for sale. I want nothing further to do with him after his harassment of users of my website.
      Thank you, Natalie, for your wonderful site and articles.

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