Problems with Identification: Tudor Portraits

Portrait of an Unknown Lady c.1565-8 by Hans Eworth active 1540-1573
Portrait of an Unknown Lady c.1565-8 by Hans Eworth (1540-1573), Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom

There is a yet another discrepancy as to who the sitter is in another Hans Eworth portrait from the Tudor era. This time around, the actual sitter is, in fact, unknown. The proposed sitter of the painting was (and still is often) Lady Eleanor Clifford. Wikipedia has the portrait as Lady Eleanor’s main portrait. However, there has been a nod to perhaps the sitter being Eleanor’s daughter, Lady Margaret Clifford. As to who is really is–we’re not sure, so let’s study the background of each woman.

Lady Clifford was born Lady Eleanor Brandon in 1519 – 27 September 1547) She was the second daughter of Sir Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and his wife the former Princess Mary, Queen of France. Her mother was the younger sister of King Henry VIII; making Eleanor a grandchild of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. In March 1533, a marriage contract was written up for Lady Eleanor and Lord Henry Clifford, the eldest son and heir of Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland by Lady Margaret Percy.[2] However, since her mother died nine months later, she waited to go and live with her young husband and in-laws. Eleanor officially married Lord Clifford at Brandon house, Bridewell, in 1537; her uncle King Henry VIII was present.[3][4][5][6] 

Lady Clifford served several of her uncle’s queens. In 1536, she was Chief Mourner to Queen Katherine of Aragon; the deposed wife Henry put aside for his second, Anne Boleyn.

Lady Eleanor and her husband had one surviving child, Lady Margaret, who was born in 1540. Eleanor died on 27 September 1547, nine months after her uncle Henry VIII. At the time of her death, her cousin Edward VI was King.

Lady Margaret Clifford would have been born in the process of King Henry VIII’s wife swaps. In 1540, Katherine Howard was consort. A short lived marriage that put Katherine on the chopping block dissolved and Henry was single again. In 1543, the King would marry for the 6th and final time to the widowed Lady Latimer (born Katherine Parr). Queen Katherine had a sturdy circle of religious women around her at all times. In her list of ladies-in-waiting, we see that both Lady Cumberland (mother to Margaret) and the Duchess of Suffolk (Lady Frances Brandon; aunt to Margaret) are listed. Margaret would have only been three when her granduncle married Katherine Parr.

The scandal of Lady Jane Grey hit Lady Margaret’s immediate family hard. Her cousin, Jane was in line to the throne after King Edward VI and his two sisters; Ladies Mary and Elizabeth. King Edward saw fit to bypass his sisters in his will and give his cousin Lady Jane the crown. Jane was the daughter of Lady Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk. As such, Jane was the niece of Lady Eleanor Clifford; mother of Lady Margaret. The scandal was quickly suppressed and the will of Henry VIII (Edward’s father) was upheld. Lady Mary Tudor came to court to denounce her cousin Jane. The will of Henry VIII held more sway over Edward’s. Also, the blood descendants of King Henry VIII were preferred over the descendants of his father, Henry VII. There were two still living. Mary claimed her right to the throne and Jane was disposed. Jane, her father, her husband, and a few others were implicated and eventually executed under the new queen. As for Lady Margaret? She joined the court of Queen Mary. Queen Mary consented to the marriage of Lady Margaret to the heir of the Earldom of Derby and the two were married at Westminster Palace on February 12, 1555.

In 1557, Lady Margaret started to cause somewhat of a ruckus by claiming a superior succession to the crown than her cousins, Lady Catherine Grey and Lady Mary Grey. Margaret stated that because her cousin Jane had been tainted, tried, and executed, the whole line of the Grey family should be barred from the succession.

The death of Queen Mary set Lady Margaret in the attendance of the new Queen, Elizabeth. She held the rank of two of the highest noblewomen in the country along with her cousin, Lady Margaret Douglas (daughter of the eldest sibling of Henry VIII; Queen Margaret of Scots). Lady Margaret Clifford’s status may have been enough for a portrait. Her cousin, Margaret Douglas, certainly got a few.

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Full-length portrait of Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1515-78), standing with a Griffon at her feet. She is holding gloves in her left hand and resting her right on a table on which stands a clock in the form of a tempietto, the dial surmounted by a hound and a shield with the arms of Scotland. Inscribed: THE LADY MARGARET. HIR GRACE / LATE WIFE TO MATHEW ERLLE / OF LENNOX REGENT OF SCOTLANDE / AND MOTHER TO HENRY KINGE / OF SCOTLAND / Aetatis 55 Aí Dni. 1572.

 

What We Know About the Portrait

The coat of arms in the top left corner, which may have been added later, are the impaled arms (those of a husband and wife) of Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, and his wife Lady Eleanor, daughter of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France. As a result the painting has been frequently exhibited in the past as a portrait of Lady Eleanor, regardless of the fact that she died in 1547, well before the date of this portrait [the roman numerals MDLX at the top right = 1560]. It is, however, a rule of heraldry that impaled arms are not used by the children of a marriage, as they would have their own. Hence the later addition and erroneous use of the arms here suggests that the identity of the portrait was already unclear only two or three generations after it was painted, a situation by no means unusual amid the frequent early deaths, multiple marriages, and shifting alliances and fortunes of the most powerful families of the Tudor era. Later the portrait was thought to represent the only child of Eleanor and Henry to survive infancy, Margaret. Unfortunately the inscription on the right which might have provided a check (Margaret would have been aged 25-28 at the time of this portrait) has been truncated; although the Roman numerals of the year can apply only to 1565-8, the age of the sitter cannot be ascertained with any useful accuracy. The National Portrait Gallery has an online sketch of this portrait identified as Lady Eleanor, but the portrait remains in dispute.

Another unfortunate aspect of the portrait is the clothing; the clothing does not match the time period of Lady Eleanor Brandon. The dress is third quarter of the 16th century and is of Spanish influence.

According to Richard Davey. The sisters of Lady Jane Grey and their wicked grandfather, E.P. Dutton and co., 1912:

The Lady Eleanor Brandon was a better looking woman than her sister Frances. When her tomb in Skipton Church was disturbed in the seventeenth century her skeleton which was in perfect condition proved her to have been very tall and large boned whereas the Lady Frances was of medium stature. Lady Eleanor, if we may judge by her portrait, which hangs at Skipton Castle, was pretty rather than beautiful. The writer confesses that the portrait at Skipton did not impress him as that of one who could have put forward the slightest pretensions to good looks; the cheeks are high, the forehead abnormally broad, the eyes however are fine, and the hair fair but the complexion according to this venerable picture must have been quite ghastly. The portrait is very badly painted; a poor thing worth little as a work of art but none the less interesting.

The site for the Tate Gallery concludes that the painting is still unidentified, yet there is an identical sketch on the site for the National Portrait Gallery identified as Lady Eleanor. Who’s who?

Another proposal for the sitter is given as Hon. Margaret Wentworth, daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Baron and his wife Margaret Fortescue. Sir Thomas was a nephew of Queen Jane Seymour’s mother, Margaret Wentworth. Thomas’s daughter, Margaret, married three times; Sir John, Baron Williams of Thame; Sir William Drury; and Sir James Croft. The new identification is given by Dr. Roy Strong based on the comparison to her sister, Jane Wentworth, Lady Cheney [below].

Problems with Identifying Tudor Portraits

npg_4451_Katherine_Parr
Queen Katherine Parr attributed to Master John c. 1544. NPG, London. (c) National Portrait Gallery, London; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

For years Queen Katherine Parr’s many portraits were thought to be Lady Jane Grey; it is just recently that the portrait in the NPG in London (first portrait) was finally changed permanently to Queen Katherine Parr based on the research of the Queen’s inventory of jewels which was recorded in the documents of King Henry VIII. They are also recorded in the back of the recently published book, “Katherine Parr: Works and Correspondences.” Those very same jewels that belonged to the Queens of England were last worn by Queen Katherine Parr. After the death of King Henry, and after Edward Seymour proclaimed himself Lord Protector, the jewels, along with her personal jewels, were put into the Tower for safekeeping. Since Edward VI had no queen the jewels would not have been in use unless Edward’s wife Anne Stanhope got a hold of them; which she was not entitled to. Lady Jane Grey was in the household of Queen Dowager Katherine Parr until her death in 1548, but as stated the queen’s jewels were not accessible to Lady Jane and the portrait which is dated in the early 1540s also proves that the person painted had to have possession of those jewels; and who had possession during that time — only Queen Katherine Parr.

Let’s Talk to an Expert

The portrait at the Tate is certainly not of Eleanor Brandon. The artist of that painting is identified as Hans Eworth, an artist who did not become active in England until after Brandon’s death. Too, the style of the sitter’s costume also quite firmly dates the painting to at least a decade after Brandon’s death.
It seems quite logical that a portrait of Eleanor would have hung at Skipton, since that castle belonged to the family of Eleanor’s husband Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland. I do see that Richard Davey claims to have viewed the portrait in situ just prior to World War I. Whether or not his claim is factual is an open question, however. Davey too often simply invented the “facts” presented in his books. His list in Nine Days Queen of portraits of Jane Grey is packed with errors and deliberate falsehoods.
I understand that Skipton is now partially derelict, though it may still have some limited habitable spaces. Have you contacted Skipton Castle directly through their website to ask for any information they may have? That is certainly where I would start. I did check the Getty Research Institute’s Provenance Research Database, but that did not turn up any portraits of Eleanor Brandon Clifford appearing at public auction between 1700 and 1900. But the portrait may have been sold privately. –Dr. Stephan Edwards (Author of A Queen of a New Invention and The Lady Jane Grey Prayer Book)

I have contacted Skipton Castle looking for information. I have yet to receive and email. So for now, as of the end of 2016, the portrait remains unknown.

Sources

  • Lawrence Manley, “From Strange’s Men to Pembroke’s Men: 2 “Henry VI” and “The First Part of the Contention”.”, Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 54, No. 3 (Autumn, 2003), pp. 253-287.
  • Sir Sidney Lee. Dictionary of national biography, Volume 54, Smith, Elder, & co., 1898. pg 70.Google eBook 
  • Eleanor Clifford (née Brandon), Countess of Cumberland, probably by Alfred Thomas Derby, after Unknown artist, Purchased, 1893, Reference Collection NPG D23066. National Portrait Gallery 
  • The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.66-8. Tate Collections
  • Katherine Parr, attributed to Master John, circa 1545. Purchased with help from the Gulbenkian Foundation, 1965 Primary Collection. Reference Collection NPG 4451

  • Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1515-78), c.1572, British School, 16th Century, Royal Collection Trust. RCIN 401183
  • Kathy Lynn Emerson Who’s Who in Tudor Women.
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Portraits of Queen Katherine: Reason and Logic vs Opinion

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

 

 

Lady Jane Grey Discoveries

Lady Jane Grey Discoveries

 Jane Grey9
Historian Stephan Edwards has concluded in his latest research that Leanda de Lisle [author of “Tudor: The Family Story”] was correct in writing in ‘The Sisters Who Would be Queen’ that the famous description of Lady Jane Grey’s procession to the Tower, supposedly written by a witness called Spinola, is a twentieth century fraud. Lisle noted in an article for BBC History magazine (which is on her website under ‘articles’) that the costume Spinola describes resembles this Victorian image. Anyway, Dr Edwards has done further research into the fraud, and every interesting it all is. See here: http://www.somegreymatter.com/spinola.htm

Dr Edwards has, however, also published and translated for the first time two Italian letters that actually were written in 1553. This really is brilliant work! They give the first authentic description of Guildford Dudley’s appearance and also describe Jane! Thank you Dr Edwards and Leanda de Lisle for your incredibly generous sharing of your research online. http://www.somegreymatter.com/lettereintro.htm

The “Melton Constable” or “Hastings” Portrait of Queen Katherine Parr

It is my pleasure to report that this portrait which was once labeled “Lady Jane Grey” is now officially “Queen Katherine Parr.”

The Melton Constable Portrait of Katherine Parr

According to Dr. J.S. Edwards, Ph.D. and his website “Some Grey Matter“, this portrait owned by the Lord Hastings and now at Seaton Delaval, in Northumberland, is a seventeenth-century copy of a sixteenth-century original formerly in the Royal Collection but lost in the dispersals of 1651-52. The painting was originally held at the seat of the Hasting family in Norfolk, but was moved.

Though long thought to depict Lady Jane Grey, it has recently been relabeled by the National Trust as Katherine Parr.

You will note that the painting is owned by the Barons Hastings. The 1st Baron was Sir William Hastings, husband to Lady Katherine Neville as her second husband. Lady Jane did not descend from the 1st Baron Hastings, but from his wife’s first marriage to Lord Harrington (Sir William Bonville). However, Parr’s great-grandmother, Lady Alice FitzHugh (Neville), was sister to Lady Katherine Hastings.

For more information, see:

5 September 1548: The Death of Queen Katherine Parr

The nursery and apartments of the dowager queen with Lady Anne Herbert standing by [the queen's sister] © Meg McGath, 2012.
The nursery and apartments of the dowager queen with Lady Anne Herbert standing by [the queen’s sister] © Meg McGath, 2012.
Unfortunately for Katherine, Dr. Huicke, so advanced in matters of diet and exercise for proper prenatal care, was a man of his time when it came to matters of hygiene. Having survived disease, civil insurrection, mob violence, charges of heresy and treason, four husbands including King Henry VIII, and the vicissitudes of life in sixteenth-century England for thirty-six years, Katherine succumbed most likely to puerperal or child-bed fever contracted from her doctor’s dirty hands and just a lack of hygiene in general. Two other Tudor queens had succumbed to the same disease and shortly died after; Jane Seymour [Henry’s third queen and mother of Edward VI who succeeded King Henry in January of 1547] and Elizabeth of York [queen to King Henry VII and mother of King Henry VIII; who gave birth to her final child, coincidentally named Princess Katherine, on 2 February 1503].

The three Tudor queens who would die shortly after giving birth; Queen Elizabeth of York, Queen Katherine, and Queen Jane Seymour. Their death is attributed to child-bed fever which was very common in Tudor times.

On the 5th September 1548, the Queen, lying on her death bed made her final will. Katherine was sick in body, but of good mind, perfect memory and discretion; being persuaded, and perceiving the extremity of death to approach her; disposed and ordained by permission, assent, and consent of her most dear, beloved husband, the Lord Seymour, a certain disportion, gift, testament, and last will of all her goods, chattels, and debts, by these words or other, like in effect, being by her advisedly spoken to the intent of a testament and last will in the presence of the witnesses and records under-named.

The witnesses of the queen’s will were Robert Huick, Doctor of Physic, and John Parkhurst. In her will, the queen gave her husband

“with all her heart and desire, frankly and freely give, will, and bequeath to the said Lord Seymour, Lord High Admiral of England, her married espouse and husband, all the goods, chattels, and debts that she then had, or right ought to have in all the world, wishing them to be a thousand times more in value than they were or been; but also most liberally gave him full power, authority, and order, to dispose and prosecute the same goods, chattels, and debts at his own free will and pleasure, to his most commodity.”

The queen lies in state inside St. Mary's Chapel at Sudeley Castle where she is buried, © Meg McGath, 2012.
The queen lies in state inside St. Mary’s Chapel at Sudeley Castle where she is buried, © Meg McGath, 2012.

Queen Katherine Parr died on Wednesday, the 5th of September, in the year of 1548; ‘between two and three of the clock in the morning.’

Nursery and Queen's apartment window from outside © Meg McGath, 2012.
Nursery and Queen’s apartment window from outside © Meg McGath, 2012.

John Parkhurst wrote two Latin epitaphs on Katherine Parr, circa 1548. Here is the first one.

On the incomparable woman, Katherine, formerly Queen of England, France, and Ireland, my most gentle mistress. An epitaph, 1547[8].

In this new sepulchre Queen Katherine sleeps,
Flower, honor, and ornament of the female sex.
To King Henry she was a wife most faithful;
Later, when gloomy Fate had taken him from the living,
Thomas Seymour (to whom the trident, Neptune, you extended)
was the distinguished man she wed.
She bore a baby girl; after the birth, when the sun had run
A seventh round, cruel Death did kill her.
For the departed, we her household flow with watery eyes;
Damp is the British earth from moistened cheeks.
Bitter grief consumes us, we unhappy ones;
But she rejoices ‘midst the heavenly host.

The queen lies in state inside St. Mary's Chapel at Sudeley Castle where she is buried, © Meg McGath, 2012.
The queen lies in state inside St. Mary’s Chapel at Sudeley Castle where she is buried, Lady Jane Grey and two yeomen watch over the queen’s body © Meg McGath, 2012.

Related Articles:

Sources:

  • Linda Porter. ‘Katherine, the queen,’ Macmillan, 2012.
  • Susan James. ‘Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love,’ The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008, 2009 [US Edition].
  • Janel Mueller. ‘Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondences,’ University of Chicago Press, Jun 30, 2011.
  • Emma Dent. ‘Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley,’ London, J. Murray, 1877.

Queen Katherine Parr: The Pregnancy and Birth of Lady Mary Seymour

From Sex and Sleaze: Time Traveller’s guide to Tudor England:

Childbirth is an exclusively female affair, with only female midwives in attendance and no doctors. After childbirth, babies are rapidly baptised because of high infant mortality, usually in the absence of their mothers. New mothers are not allowed in church until about 30 days after the birth, and then must be ‘churched’, or ritually purified.

In December of 1547, Queen Katherine Parr became pregnant for what most people believe to be the first time by her fourth and final husband, Sir Thomas Seymour. After four husbands and twenty years of marriage, Katherine was about to fulfill what she felt was the primary duty of a wife, to give birth to a healthy baby; boys being preferred in aristocratic circles. Like today, some titles still cannot be inherited by the eldest or only daughter of a peer; meaning a girl cannot inherit the title of her father which is usually then passed to the closest living male relative, that being usually an uncle or cousin.

Queen Katherine found pregnancy difficult. She still had an on-going feud with her brother-in-law, the Lord Protector and his rather nasty wife, had morning sickness, was constantly worrying about her step-daughter Lady Elizabeth, and the temper of her husband and lack of discretion towards his feelings for Lady Elizabeth must have made the early months of pregnancy extremely hard for the Queen Dowager.[1] In 1549, after the death of the Queen, two cramp rings for use against the pains of childbirth and three pieces of unicorn horn, sovereign remedy for stomach pains, were found in the chest of Katherine’s personal belongings which were talismans most likely from her husband and friend’s to alleviate the pains of childbirth and anticipated pangs of childbirth. Katherine was almost thirty-six, an advanced age to begin a pregnancy. The emotional strain of her household with Seymour’s infatuation with Lady Elizabeth couldn’t have helped her early months either.

As Katherine’s pregnancy progressed, her involvement in politics, if not her interest, diminished. She viewed her approaching motherhood with delight despite knowing the risks and the possibility that death in child birth was a very real possibility.

In June Katherine wrote to her husband from Hanworth:

“I gave your little knave your blessing, who like and honest man stirred apace after and before. For Mary Odell being abed with me had laid her hand upon my belly to feel it stir. It hath stirred these three days every morning and evening so that I trust when ye come it will make you some pastime.”[2]

The Dowager Queen’s letter from Hanworth which is preserved at Sudeley Castle © Meg McGath, 2012.

Seymour, who was also aware of the perils of childbirth — from his own sister’s account — replied from Westminster:

“I do desire your highness to keep the little knave so lean and gaunt with your good diet and walking, that he may be so small that he may creep out of a mousehole. I hear my little man doth shake his poll [head], [and] trusting God should give him life to live as long as his father, he will revenge such wrongs as neither you nor I can.”[3]

The last part of the message obviously had to do with Seymour’s friction with his elder brother which at this time was on the verge of paranoia.

The Ruins of the 15th Century State Apartments, where Katherine would have spent her last few months © Meg McGath, 2012.

Seymour decided that Katherine should be confined as far away possible from the press of business and turmoil of the court as well as the summer plagues of London. Katherine was taken to Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe, England, outside of Cheltenham. The castle has a long history stretching back to William de Tracy. Richard III used the castle as campaign headquarters during the Battle of Tawkesbury; in which Katherine’s grandfather fought. Upon the death of Richard III, the castle reverted to the crown and new monarch, Henry VII; who gave the castle to his uncle, Jasper Tudor. After the death of Jasper Tudor, Sudeley reverted to the crown again, to King Henry VIII. In fact, the King made a visit to the castle with Anne Boleyn in 1535. Upon the ascension of Edward VI, Sir Thomas was created Lord Seymour of Sudeley and was granted the castle. In preperation for her lying-in, Seymour spent 1,000 pounds having the rooms prepared for her in his newly aquired house at Sudeley in Gloucestershire.[4] With beautiful gardens and walks, the castle would have been a perfect place for Katherine to spend the last three months of her pregnancy.

The Nursery at Sudeley Castle
On Wednesday, 13 June 1548, Seymour accompanied his wife, who was now six months pregnant, and his young ward, Lady Jane Grey, from Hanworth to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire. Lady Elizabeth Tudor had been sent away that Spring so she did not accompany them. In this castle, Katherine spent the last three months of her pregnancy and the last summer of her life. Typical of Queen Katherine, she spared no expense when it came to attendants. She was attended by her old friend and doctor, Robert Huicke, and was surrounded by other old friends, Miles Coverdale, her chaplain, her almoner, John Parkhurst, Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, and the ladies who had been with her over the years such as Elizabeth Trywhitt and Mary Wodhull. Katherine also had a full compliment of maids-of-honour and gentlewomen as well as 120 gentlemen and yeomen of the guard. In spite of his duties, Sir Thomas Seymour seems to have spent most of that summer with his wife. Katherine whiled away her summer days overseeing the education of Lady Jane Grey while preparing for her baby. Her affections for her husband seemed as strong as ever, as was her belief in the final analysis, Seymour would make the moral choice over the immoral one.

The queen wrote to her husband who had been called away on duty describing the baby as very active.

“I gave your little knave your blessing, who like an honest man stirred apace after and before. For Mary Odell being abed with me had laid her hand upon my belly to fell it stir. It hath stirred these three days every morning and evening so that I trust when you come it will make you some pastime…”

It was during this time that the queen dowager reconciled with Lady Mary who wrote to her stepmother on 9 August:

“I trust to hear good success of your Grace’s great belly; and in the meantime shall desire much to hear of your health, which I pray almighty God to continue and increase to his pleasure as much as your own heart can desire.”[6]

The Lady Elizabeth, who was now living away from her step-mother also wrote, too, answering a letter of Katherine’s in which the queen described the beauties of Sudeley and wished the princess with her once more:

“Although your Highness’ letters be most joyful to me in absence, yet considering what pain it is to you to write, your Grace being so great with child, and so sickly, your commendation were enough in my Lord’s letter. I much rejoice at your health with the well liking of the country. Your Highness were like to be cumbered, if I should not depart, till I were weary being with you; also it were in the worst soil in the world your presence would make it pleasant… God send you a most lucky deliverance.”[7]

One could reflect on this letter — seeing Lady Elizabeth’s concern when it came to childbirth. Perhaps this weariness and the eventual death of her beloved step-mother would confirm that she would never consider having children.

Queen Katherine looks from the window in her nursery which overlooks the gardens and Chapel.
Queen Katherine looks from the window in her nursery which overlooks the gardens and Chapel.
While Katherine awaited her confinement, Katherine continued decorating the nursery which overlooked the gardens and the Chapel. The nursery of an expected heir was done up in crimson and gold velvet and taffeta, with furniture and plate enough for a royal birth. In Seymour’s eyes, the child would be a member of the royal family as Katherine was still officially the only queen in England. After his daughter’s birth, Seymour was overheard telling Sir William Sharington that,

“it would be strange to some when his daughter came of age, taking [her] place above [the duchess of] Somerset, as a queen’s daughter.”[5]

Besides the baby’s cradle was a bed with a scarlet tester and crimson curtains and a separate bed for the nurse.

The Queen's Garden where Katherine would have walked.
The Queen’s Garden where Katherine would have walked.
The Queen continued to take the advice of her doctor and walked daily among the grounds of Sudeley, but she was still concerned about the politics and overseeing of the new boy king.

The nursery as it is today; the woman portrayed here is Queen Katherine's sister, Lady Anne Herbert [later Countess of Pembroke] who was Katherine's groom.
The nursery as it is today; the woman portrayed here is Queen Katherine’s sister, Lady Anne Herbert [later Countess of Pembroke] who was Katherine’s groom.
On Thursday, 30 August, [coincidentally in 2012, the celebration of Queen Katherine’s 500th anniversary of her birth, the 30th of August ALSO fell on a Thursday, on the eve of a blue moon] Katherine brought to bed a healthy baby girl who was named Lady Mary in honour of her step-sister, the Lady Mary Tudor. Disappointed briefly that the son and avenger he had hoped for had turned out to be a girl, Seymour rallied quickly and announced his daughter’s birth to the lord protector in ‘glowing terms’ and with a detailed description of her beauty. Somerset, the father of 12, was amused by his brother’s enthusiasm for fatherhood. But Seymour’s joy in his child’s birth was followed by fear at his wife’s worsening condition.

This portrait of a baby/small child hangs in the Nursery at Sudeley Castle. No identification on who it is.
This portrait of a baby/small child hangs in the Nursery at Sudeley Castle. No identification.

Links

Sources:

  • Linda Porter. ‘Katherine, the queen,’ Macmillan, 2012.
  • Susan James. ‘Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love,’ The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008, 2009 [US Edition].
  • Janel Mueller. ‘Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondences,’ University of Chicago Press, Jun 30, 2011.
  • Emma Dent. ‘Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley,’ London, J. Murray, 1877. Out of copyright; use of images and info.

Written and researched by Meg McGath, 29 August 2012