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Portraits of Queen Katherine: Reason and Logic vs Opinion

God love that Pinterest, but did I read that correctly? The woman in the middle is Margaret Douglas? Wasn't that identified as Queen Katherine Parr in 1965 and then again in 1996? So where does the Margaret Douglas identity come from?
NOT_Margaret_Douglas

God love that Pinterest, but did I read that correctly? The woman in the middle is Margaret Douglas? Wasn’t that identified as Queen Katherine Parr in 1965 and then again in 1996? So where does the Margaret Douglas identity come from?

Pinterest, the new online addiction for millennials. Pinterest is a website where you can “pin” photos online to a virtual “board”. I was merely looking for a picture on the web and did an image search. I noticed that several of my articles photos popped up. So, why is this website using my photo? Welcome to Pinterest! The rest is history!

Pinterest can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, depending on who you are. If you’re a historian, like me, it’s a complete mess! Portraits are mislabeled, facts are not true, the link that provided the photo has disappeared yet the photo remains, etc.

Most people catch on and realize that they can indeed change the caption that is mindlessly being re-pinned onto other boards. Yes, when you Pin something, the caption (in this case, the wrong one) doesn’t change unless you manually do it. So…we find portraits from the Tudor era that have been incorrectly identified and re-pinned hundreds of times! Oh, my head!

I have been wanting to write something on Pinterest for a long time; about the relentless misidentified Tudor portraits. Well, this final pin has my full attention.

The pin is right in the middle of the screen cap above. It seems that someone pinned the portrait “Katherine Parr” from a website that identifies the portrait as “Margaret Douglas”. Confused? Me, too!

So I thought I would check out the website and boy did I get more than I bargained for!

kleio_false3

Kleio.org: the website run by Ms. Vogt-Luerssen. This is her page for “Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox”. As you can read for yourself, Ms. Vogt-Luerssen insists that the portrait is Margaret Douglas and NOT Katherine Parr. “Margaret Douglas, daughter of the Scottish Queen Margaret Tudor and one of the favourite nieces of the English King Henry VIII., c. 1532 The depicted is NOT Katherine Parr!”

Kleio.org is a personal website run by a woman named Maike Vogt-Luerssen. I was somewhat taken back by what I saw under the portrait. Ms. Vogt-Luerssen insists that the portrait is Lady Margaret Douglas, niece of King Henry VIII, and daughter of Margaret, Queen of Scots. The portrait on her page is dated c.1532. Underneath the caption, Ms. Vogt-Luerssen has written “The depicted is NOT Katherine Parr!”

And to that, I reply “au contraire mon fraire”!!

In an earlier article I did in March of 2013, I studied the portrait that has actually been long associated with Lady Jane Grey; grandniece of King Henry VIII by his other sister Queen Mary of France (Duchess of Suffolk). Surprisingly, through research, I learned that the original portrait came to the Portrait Gallery in 1965 as “Katherine Parr”.

“Most people don’t even realize that the painting came in as “Katherine Parr.” In fact, unless you do thorough research you won’t even know that the portrait was originally at Glendon Hall, the seat of the Lane family. Glendon Hall once belonged to Sir Ralph Lane who married Hon. Maud Parr, a cousin and lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine Parr. The portrait came to be generally accepted as Lady Jane for decades. The re-naming to “Lady Jane” was based on what you ask?”

Following research published in 1996, the identity of the sitter has been reassessed and the traditional identification of the sitter as “Katherine Parr” has been re-confirmed (James, 1996). Several of the jewels worn in the portrait can be traced to certain lists. James used several different inventories of jewels belonging to queens Katherine Howard (inventory as of 1542), ‘The Quene’s Jewells’ (inventory as of 1550), and a third undated list entitled “Inventory of jewels — parcel of the Queen’s Jewels and other stuff which came from the late Admiral’s [Thomas Seymour] house of Sudeley.” The 1542 list is of particular interest due to the fact that after Howard was arrested, her jewels were handed over to her lady-in-waiting, Lady Anne Herbert (sister of the future queen Katherine Parr). The list of 1550 was ordered by the Lord Protector as part of a comprehensive inventory of the ‘goods of Henry VIII.’ This list was entitled “The Quene’s Jewells.” Each list was looked at by James. The coronet shaped brooch was not found in the list for 1542. However, a similar one was described in the 1550 list and that of Parr’s possessions. The brooch may be identified with one described in the 1550 jewel list as, an ‘ouche’ or ‘flower’ was a brooch worn pinned to the bodice.

– Meg McGath, “Queen Katherine Parr: The Coronet Brooch“, 2013

catherineparrchest

Detail of “Queen Katherine Parr”; NPG 4451.

Argument for a Necklace

So I was very surprised when I went on to the site Ms. Vogt-Luerrsen runs. She had no actual sources for her claim that the portrait was “Margaret Douglas”. Nothing. Until September 1st when she published a private email she had received from “M.M” (which she has since changed to “just an email”). Hmm, wonder who that is. The email basically asked what Ms. Vogt-Luerrsen’s sources were. The writer even tried to offer some help to show why the portrait was not Margaret Douglas. Her response, is a fabrication she put together using my original response to this…

Dear M.M.,
I am a historian and a researcher too, and my knowledge is based on the contemporary historical sources of the 16th century, the written and the pictorial ones. The depicted woman you mentioned is without any doubt Margaret Douglas and certainly NOT Queen Katherine Parr. Actually not too long ago the depicted young lady was declared to be “Jane Grey” by the art historians. They now have changed their mind to “Katherine Parr”. My research is based on the history of the fashion. How can anybody make the claim that the depicted is Katherine Parr? Does this person have any idea what Katherine Parr really looked like? We have plenty of images of her. See here:

http://www.kleio.org/en/history/famtree/vip/abb20t/
Let’s look at the portrait of Margaret Douglas. Her costume is the only tool to date the painting. It was in fashion around 1528 to 1535. Jane Grey was born in 1537. She was not even born when this portrait was made. Therefore we can rule her out.
Katherine Parr got married to her second husband John Neville around 1530/1531. She married the English King Henry VIII in the year 1543. And in 1543 she was already a woman of the age of 31 years. Does this young woman (15 – 20 years old) look like 31 years old? We are in the Renaissance! Do you have any idea what a woman looked like when she was 30 years old?
The fashion tells us that the depicted on the portrait cannot be Katherine Parr. The portraits of Katherine Parr also tell us the depicted on this portrait can not be Katherine Parr. Margaret Douglas and her cousin Eleanor Brandon were the favourite nieces of Henry VIII (at least in the beginning of the 1530s).

Look at portraits of Eleanor Brandon: http://www.kleio.org/en/history/famtree/vip/abb2vv/
Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon both received a specific piece of jewellery *(a necklace) from him which he also gave – according to Susan James – to his new bride Katherine Parr in 1543. The two specimens of these *necklaces of Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon look almost the same, but there are small differences. Susan James was therefore not very well informed when she made her claim that the depicted is Katherine Parr.
You should read my biography about Margaret Douglas (Margarete Douglas: Die hinreißend schöne Schottin in der englischen Königsfamilie) in my E-Book: Die Frauen des Hauses Tudor – Das Schicksal der weiblichen Mitglieder einer englischen Königsdynastie:

http://www.kleio.org/de/buecher/tudor/
Kind Regards, Maike Vogt-Lüerssen

*The now PUBLIC email that Ms. Vogt-Luerssen published on her site differs from her original printed here after I responded to THIS email. However, let us examine this email and pick it apart.

Argument of Period Clothing

The argument against Katherine Parr holds no sustenance. Ms. Vogt-Luerssen questions as to how the painter actually knew who the sitter was. Well, for one, the sitter was actually present when the portrait was done. Ms. Vogt-Luerrsen then goes on to say that the fashion worn in the portrait pertained to only 1528-1535. Pretty sure that no one wore that style of clothing during that supposed time period.

The Earliest Portrait of Katherine Parr or Katherine of Aragon?

Although thought to be a portrait of Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr, the costume, which dates to the 1520s or 1530s, and the facial features matched far more closely with portraits of Henry’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon. (National Portrait Gallery, 2008)

Let’s see, Katherine of Aragon was still the Queen of England in 1528. In fact, her title wasn’t taken away until 1533. So, no, that was not the fashion at the time. Even when Mistress Anne Boleyn started to emerge at court, her style, as drawn by Holbein in 1532-35, stayed relatively the same. Anne was more in tune with the fashions of the French Court, but she is still seen wearing the Gable Hood, even in the most authentic depiction that we have of her. As for Katherine of Aragon’s fashion, she was known for her specific style of clothing that included the Gable. She also introduced the Spanish Farthingale which would become popular later on in the reigns of Katherine Howard (1540-41) and Katherine Parr (1543-47).

Tradition holds that the Spanish Farthingale arrived in England in the early 1500s, introduced by Katharine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s future queen. In a description of the marriage of Katherine and Prince Arthur in 1501, her clothing is described as:

“…her gown was very large, bothe the slevys and also the body with many plightes, much litche unto menys clothyng, and aftir the same fourme the remenant of the ladies of Hispanyne were arayed; and beneath her wastes certayn rownde hopys beryng owte ther gownes from the bodies aftir their countray maner.”

Despite this early reference, it is only in the 1540s–four decades later–that clear evidence of a stiffened hoopskirt begins to appear in documents, portraits and paintings of the time. The classic mid-16th century English look is created in large part by the farthingale: an inverted small triangle of the bodice over a larger one of the skirt. Queen Mary Tudor had several farthingales in her wardrobe: two farthingales of crimson satin edged with crimson velvet, and one of crimson grosgrain edged with crimson velvet.{2}

The appearance of the fashion in the portrait of Katherine Parr appears to have become documented and portrayed in portraiture in the 1540s. Katherine Parr was known for her love of fashion. In fact, Parr and the Lady Mary (daughter of Katherine of Aragon) bonded over their clothing. The two were always wearing the latest fashions. Katherine made it known that she preferred Spanish relations to the French. Katherine was keen on presenting the Lady Mary above all. The two were constantly seen together.

12783855_1688370734769470_1797439626_n

Detail of the NPG portrait of “Queen Katherine Parr“.

My Argument: The Brooch

I’m not sure where you are getting your info. I have researched this issue thoroughly since Susan James’s book came out in 2009. Your theory is based off your own opinions. There are no concrete sources listed in your argument. I can list over a dozen that prove that the portrait IS Katherine.
Katherine married Henry in 1543. The portrait was done circa 1545. Margaret Douglas was a lady to Queen Katherine. And in England, Margaret Douglas was not treated to any type of special kind of attention. Margaret held no rank that would have put her above the Queen. In fact, Margaret was behind several women. Under Henry VIII’s succession act, she wasn’t even named as a successor. She was merely a daughter of Queen Margaret and her noble husband–not even a Princess! Henry cut any ties to his Scottish family.
Check records for the time–was there a portrait commissioned by Henry VIII for his niece? Not that I know of. You have anything? And any sources saying Henry gifted a specific necklace to Margaret; description and all?
How can you deny the research that was done by the NPG? The portrait came in as “Katherine Parr” and was challenged. Due to research done by Susan James, the portrait was returned to the ORIGINAL identity of Katherine Parr in 1996.
Dr Susan James came out with a SPECIFIC study on this portrait — identifying it as Katherine Parr. Her sources were the lists of jewels worn by the Queens of England and Katherine Parr’s inventory. There is NO study that identifies this portrait as Margaret Douglas. There are no sources that even propose the portrait to be Margaret!
The portrait was actually done circa 1545. Jane Grey had NO access to the specific jewels in question. Even Margaret Douglas would have NO access to those jewels. Pretty sure Margaret was lower than Lady Jane in status due to Henry’s succession act. Also, Jane would have been extremely young if she was painted in 1545 (you say she wasn’t born under your date of when the portrait was done). When Susan James focused on changing the identity BACK to Katherine Parr, she used the brooch Katherine is wearing in the portrait. Also, Margaret Douglas wouldn’t be wearing such rich clothing and jewels as a lady in waiting. Katherine was always the top lady when it came to fashion (along with Lady Mary Tudor, later Queen). Margaret’s full length portrait done later in full black is basically what Katherine Parr had her ladies wear along with Parr’s Royal emblem.
As for dates, Katherine Parr was still married to Edward Borough in 1531. She didn’t marry Latimer until 1534!
On the argument of her age–does the portrait of Lady Mary look like a woman only a few years younger than Katherine? The half length portrait was painted around the same time (c.1543/45). The NPG also did a long exhausting study on that portrait also done by Master John. That portrait is listed as being commissioned in actual records.
And when scientific tests were done on Parr’s portrait, this was revealed: “Head

In infrared reflectography it is clear that the hairline has been raised, the face made slightly fuller along the left-hand side, and the position of the nose altered. The headdress has been drawn in a sketchy manner.” This was found by infrared reflectography. The original portrait done by Master John was altered — most likely an attempt to preserve the portrait. There were some extra marks around the eyes in Katherine’s portrait.
You have no concrete sources. You are asking me to look at your portraits that you have compiled. There is no link to any source except your own site which states it’s Margaret. I don’t read German, however my brother is fluent.
Going against actual biographers such as Dr Susan James, Linda Porter, Dr David Starkey, the curators at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the curators at Sudeley Castle, and the many sources available is ridiculous. The labeling of the portrait as Margaret is not correct; the facts that have been presented by ACTUAL historians label the portrait as Katherine Parr.
I’ve been studying Katherine Parr for over a decade! A historian who works on the identity of portraits claimed to be Jane Grey, Dr Stephan Edwards, has his own pages that state that the portrait is Katherine. This portrait has been thoroughly studied and Margaret was NEVER even brought up as a possible sitter! It was between Katherine Parr and Jane Grey. Again, Margaret had her own full length portrait done much later on. This portrait of Katherine Parr looks NOTHING like Margaret’s other portraits. Here are some actual links that state WHY the portrait is Katherine Parr. A lot of research and work was done to positively identify this portrait as Katherine Parr and hopefully you can put down the ego and open your mind on this subject.
Meg McGath

tudorqueen6.com

From Dr Edwards: “Susan James convincingly re-identified NPG 4451 as Katherine Parr by comparing the bodice brooch to items described in inventories of the jewels owned by Henry VIII’s wives, including Parr. The brooch is unique as James suggests and the sitter in NPG 4451 is indeed Katherine Parr.” Would you like me to send you Parr’s inventory and the queen of England’s jewel inventory which was held by Lady Anne Herbert (sister of Queen Katherine)??

NPG_brooch

Detail of the Coronet Brooch of Katherine Parr, NPG; © Susan James (black&white detail) © National Portrait Gallery (color detail)

This is the subject of the so called debate in which I revealed to Ms. Vogt-Luerssen that the portrait was indeed “Katherine Parr” based on the studies done by the NPG and biographer Dr Susan James.

Many sources were attached to this email response. Shortly after, I found that the woman actually published my private email on her public site. Fine, game on. What really made me angry about the publishing of a private email was the fact that this woman, Ms. Vogt-Luerssen, took MY own words (research, see below) from this reply and inserted them into her refutation on her site. What words did Ms. Vogt-Luerssen replace with MINE? A few paragraphs back, I made sure to highlight words in RED.

Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon both received a specific piece of jewellery *(a necklace) from him which he also gave – according to Susan James – to his new bride Katherine Parr in 1543. The two specimens of these *necklaces of Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon look almost the same, but there are small differences. Susan James was therefore not very well informed when she made her claim that the depicted is Katherine Parr.

EMAIL from Ms. Vogt-Luerssen

And now, I have a side by side comparison of the email to Ms. Vogt-Luerssen’s page on “Margaret Douglas”.

kleio_false2

The discrepancies of the email and what is posted on the actual LIVE site. On the left, is the original email from Ms. Vogt-Luerssen [photo still taken by my Iphone]. On the right, is the actual website in which she took my research and information (about the brooch) to make her own “research” seem legit. Again, no sources and no portraits of Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon to prove either claims in these two highlighted sections (necklace OR brooch).

You also have Ms. Vogt-Luerssen calling Dr. Susan James, a well known biographer of Katherine Parr, “not well informed”. To my knowledge, James has had the most experience when it comes to researching Katherine Parr to this date.

Ms. Vogt-Luerssen now has FALSE information on her website. She has been confronted by several people; including some Doctoral Scholars who are well known in the Tudor community. So, the cat is out of the bag so to say. This is ONE of several issues this woman refuses to fix on her website. Her reputed knack for identifying Tudor portraits (by opinion only) is horrific and goes to show what passes as “Historical Accuracy” online. I have had conversations with several Tudor scholars on this and the final conclusion is that Ms. Vogt-Luerssen is not a Historian and IS a hack trying to sell her own compilation of opinions and ill research. And to boot, she has written a “non-fiction” book called, The Women of the House of Tudor – The fate of female members of an English royal dynasty,which she points to at every mention she can.

Follow ups to the other vital mistakes will be linked to here.

  • Queen Katherine Parr in Art: False Portraits of Queen Katherine [currently working on]

Sources

 

copyright_meg_tudorqueen

20 November 2016

 

 

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About tudorqueen6 (139 Articles)
Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown."

4 Comments on Portraits of Queen Katherine: Reason and Logic vs Opinion

  1. I’ll look forward to your posts – keep up the good work! I read your website regularly but don’t comment. This was too good a post not to comment on!

  2. Fantastic article and meticulous research pieced together. I grew up with that portrait being identified as Lady Jane Grey and was impressed by the research that proved it was Katherine Parr. I’ve never seen this portrait identified as Margaret Douglas.

    • Oh thank you! Yes, the woman who runs the site has the mentality of a child. She won’t listen to logic and reason. She refuses to email with me anymore and continues to flaunt my information as “hers”. There will be more articles on her misleading information and misidentified portraits coming soon. Thanks again.

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