Mary Boleyn (c.1499/1500 – 19th of July 1543), who m. in 1520 William Carey, by whom – or by Henry VIII  she had:

  • Catherine Carey (c.1524 – 15th of January 1569), who mon the 26th of April 1540 Sir Francis Knollys, by whom she had:
  • Lettice Knollys (8th of November 1543 – 25th of December 1634), who min late 1560 Walter Devereux, Viscount Hereford, by whom she had:
  • Dorothy Devereux (c.1564 – 3rd of August 1619), who m. 2) in 1594 Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (27th of April 1564 – 5th of November 1632), by whom she had:
  • Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland, 4th Baron Percy (29th of September 1602 – 13th of October 1668), who m. 2) in October 1642 Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, by whom he had:
  • Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland, 5th Baron Percy (4th of July 1644 – 31st of May 1670), who m. on the 23rd of December 1662 Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley, 3rd daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, by whom he had: 
  • Elizabeth Percy, suo jure Baroness Percy (26th of January 1667 – 24th of November 1722). She was a great heiress as the only surviving child and sole heiress of Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland (1644–1670). She brought immense estates to her husband's and in addition her residences: Alnwick Castle, Petworth House, Syon House and Northumberland House in London.

Lady Elizabeth Percy married Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset the first known owner of the Royal Ontario miniature. 

It is by this line of descent that Roland Hui suggests that the Royal Ontario miniature, the miniature of the woman in 1520's garb with the inscription, ended up with Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset.

I would like to suggest an alternative theory.

If we examine the dates on this family tree more closely, we see that Lettice Knollys actually outlived her daughter Dorothy Devereux by 15 years. Of course the miniature portraits may have been inherited directly from grandmother to grandson, from Lettice Knollys to Algernon Percy, bypassing Lettice Knollys' other descendants, such as her grandson Robert Devereux, the young 3rd Earl of Essex, who shared much of his life with the old Countess at Chartley and Drayton Bassett.

The miniatures may, of course, also have been a gift in life to a beloved daughter, from Lettice Knollys to Dorothy Devereux, passing then naturally upon the death of Dorothy Devereux to her son, rather than revert back to her mother.

There is, however, another option.

What if Dorothy Devereux was not given them by her mother, but was gifted these miniatures by somebody else?

Dorothy Devereux, after a disastrous first marriage which was contracted without the Queen's consent and gave grave offence to Elizabeth I, the Queen consented to receive Dorothy at court again after her first husband's death, and Dorothy Devereux became something of a royal favourite.

It is known that Elizabeth I Tudor was very fond of her first cousins (and possible half-siblings) Catherine Carey and Henry Carey, the children of her mother's sister.

Many of Elizabeth I Tudor's favourites of her mother's blood predeceased her:

Catherine Carey, her beloved cousin and possible half-sister, the acknowledged favourite of Elizabeth's relations, predeceased the Queen by nearly 35 years.

Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon (4th of March 1526 – 23rd of July 1596), Catherine Carey's brother, to whom the Queen described herself as 'Your loving kinswoman', predeceased the Queen by seven years.

Katherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham, the daughter of Henry Carey, and a cousin, lady-in-waiting, and close confidante of Elizabeth I of England. She was in attendance on the Queen for 44 years and died a few weeks before Elizabeth I. Her death was thought to have hastened the Queen's own.

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (10th of November 1565 – 25th of February 1601), Dorothy's brother and Elizabeth I's favourite in her later years, had been in executed in 1601 following a failed rebellion against her.

Could it be possible that it was Elizabeth I herself who gifted the miniature to Dorothy Devereux?

My suggestion is that the Royal Ontario miniature was the Queen's own copy of the Buccleuch miniature. Who it was who originally owned the Buccleuch miniature is a matter of speculation, but as I have mentioned I find Roland Hui's argument for the male sitter in the de Wet and Sotheby miniature being Thomas Boleyn persuasive.

The de Wet miniature

The de Wet miniature

Effigy of Thomas Boleyn (1538) – St. Peter’s Church

Effigy of Thomas Boleyn (1538) – St. Peter’s Church

Roland Hui, however, in his article Two New Faces: the Hornebolte Portraits of Mary and Thomas Boleyn? goes on to argue that the lady in the Royal Ontario Miniature is Mary Boleyn.

What if, instead of the lady being Mary Boleyn, it is indeed Anne Boleyn?

The Buccleuch miniature may still have been inherited by Mary in the manner described by Roland Hui, but together with the Sotheby miniature instead of the de Wet miniature – that is to say, the two miniatures without inscriptions that bears such a resemblance to the early work of Lucas Horenbout – as an inheritance from either her father or her mother, of whose estate she was the sole heir.

Mary was the sole heir of their estate, as their only surviving child. Of the three surviving children of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire and his wife Lady Elizabeth Howard, Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn had been executed a few years before their parents' deaths. George had no children. Anne had a daughter, Elizabeth. She was the only other possible heir. Elizabeth, however, had been declared illegitimate and was thus ineligible to inherit.

The fact that the miniature survived suggests that it had belonged to somebody who was close to and who had cared about Anne. It was not without risk to be in possession of a picture of the disgraced Anne Boleyn.

Mary Boleyn passed away in 1544, when Elizabeth was eleven, and more than 14 years before her niece would ascend to the throne.

Elizabeth, however, was on excellent terms with both of Mary's children, her cousins Catherine and Henry Carey. She was also on excellent terms with her uncle, Mary Boleyn's widower Sir William Stafford, or at least as much may be gleaned from the fact that not only his step-children Catherine and Henry Carey, who were the Queen's blood relatives and closest kin, but his widow, Dorothy Stafford – his second wife and the children from this second marriage who were no blood relatives of the Queen at all, all became influential courtiers under Elizabeth.

There would therefore have been little difficulty for Elizabeth in obtaining the miniatures from Mary Boleyn's heirs, with whom she was close, and have her court painter make copies of them for her.

It might reasonably be asked that if Mary Boleyn's heirs had the miniatures and Elizabeth I wished to obtain them, why did she not simply do so?

Why go to the trouble of copying them at all when she could have simply had the original miniatures?

Well, going about demanding treasured family heirlooms from people with whom one wishes to have a good relationship is seldom adviseable. One does have to choose between the two.

Besides, the Queen might have liked the idea of somebody else having a picture of her mother, who had cared about Anne Boleyn, and cared about Anne Boleyn still.

The fact that the two branches of the family each had their own set of pictures of family members might have solidified the feeling of kinship. A feeling Elizabeth had not been overly familiar with throughout her life.

The Buccleuch Miniature

Anne Boleyn - Buccleuch Miniature (detail)

Anne Boleyn - Buccleuch Miniature (detail)

We can see the shape and colour of the flower being repeated in the pattern of the lady's gable hood.

Whatever flower, it must have had some sort of special significance to the wearer.

Searching for the meaning of forget-me-nots in Tudor imagery, I came over a website: Symbols and Meanings in Medieval Plants, that outlines several flowers of particular importance in Tudor imagery, amongst others:

The flowers on the lady's gable hood in the Buccleuch miniature could be a sprig of cowslip.

And then the meaning assigned to cowslip in Tudor times becomes interesting. Gates were certainly opening for Anne Boleyn, and she would have been very interested in opening them.

Having or being the key to opening those gates would certainly have been of interest to her.

Could this be an example of the cheeky humour, her sharp pertness, that was so much a part of Anne, and which so attracted Henry until it didn't anymore? 

And through her bodily ascension ... Could that have been a playful little cheeky joke to the one who was paying for the portrait?

Or from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn?

That the gates of Heaven would open up for her through her bodily ascension? 

He did initially attempt to persuade her to take on the role of official royal mistress, after all. His maîtresse-en-titre, his official royal mistress, an arrangement inspired by the French. An offer that so offended Anne Boleyn that the King had to work very hard in order to get back into her good graces. 

Anne Boleyn – Royal Ontario Miniature (detail)

Anne Boleyn – Royal Ontario Miniature (detail)

Whatever its meaning, the sprig of flowers gains in significance when you realise that whoever the artist or artists of the Royal Ontario and the Buccleuch miniatures were, they made the conscious choice to replace the sprig of flowers either from yellow to blue or from blue to yellow.

Barring discolouring, the sprig of yellow flowers has been replaced with a sprig of blue flowers in the Royal Ontario miniature.

This may be for several reasons. One is that the original reason for the choice flowers might have been lost so one might have sought to replace them with something meaningful for the new patron.

Another is that if we are right in the assigned meaning of the flowers, it was thought to be too bawdy for a copy that was to be for their child. Not to mention inappropriate, as everyone at the English court would have been uncomfortably aware of how their romance ended.

Which brings me back to my search for the meaning of forget-me-nots in Tudor imagery.

Could the blue flowers be forget-me-nots? And if they were, were their meaning anything close to the same as we would ascribe to them today?

According to Symbols and Meanings in Medieval Plants the meaning of forget-me-nots in Tudor times were:

Forget-me-nots:

A legend tells of the Christ child sitting in his mother’s lap, and wishing that future generations could see them like this. So he touched her eyes and waved his hand over the ground and forget me nots sprang forth. Wherever they are found or represented it reminds the viewer of the strength of maternal love, especially the Virgin’s for our Lord.

Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots

Anne Boleyn - Royal Ontario Miniature (detail)

Anne Boleyn - Royal Ontario Miniature (detail)

Besides, the name forget-me-nots is pretty self-explanatory.

However, there are several other interesting differences between the two (nearly) identical miniatures.

The Buccleuch Miniature of Anne Boleyn

The Buccleuch Miniature of Anne Boleyn

The Royal Ontario Miniature of Anne Boleyn

The Royal Ontario Miniature of Anne Boleyn

There is also the addition of a pendant in the Royal Ontario miniature. A pendant that looks almost flowerlike. Going back to our Symbols and Meanings in Medieval Plants, searching for flowers that bear a resemblance to the pendant worn by the lady in the miniature, we find this:

Lily of the Valley

Tradition tells that it sprang from Mary’s tears, which is why the flower hangs down. Often it is depicted growing at her feet to presage sorrow.

Hellebore

This plant is associated with infant Jesus as it is an evergreen and winter flowering. Also known as Lenten rose as it flowers very early in Spring.

There is, however, nothing in the known facts about Anne Boleyn's life to indicate that early spring would have had any kind of special significance to her. Anne's only child, Elizabeth, was born on the 7th of September 1533, Anne's secret wedding to Henry VIII took place on the 14th of November 1532, and their formal one on the 25th of January 1533, Anne was crowned Queen of England on the 1st of June 1533, and her elevation to the peerage as Marquess of Pembroke took place on the 1st of September 1532.

Even her namesake saint's day was in the middle of the summer, the Feast of St. Anne on the 26th of July.

If anything, Anne's life was curiously devoid of good things happening in early spring.

We must therefore look for at the other meanings. If the pendant on the necklace is indeed a hellebore surrounded by lilies of the valley, the other meanings assigned these two flowers become significant.

Hellebore is associated with the infant Christ, lily of the valley with his mother's grief. Put together you have the symbolism of a mother and her small child and the grief and sorrow of the separation between them by death.

Not unlike the situation of Anne Boleyn and her daughter Elizabeth I.

The third significant difference between the two miniatures are the brooch on lady's gown.

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I know that I confidently asserted before that I could make out Anne Boleyn's falcon symbol on the brooch on the lady's gown in the Buccleuch miniature. It is, in fact, quite impossible to make out what it is. It might be Anne Boleyn's falcon symbol. It can just as easily be the personal symbol of any of Henry's other wives, for that matter.

Or something completely different.

In any case, Anne did not become Marquess of Pembroke until 1532 and Henry's Queen until 1533, necessitating the need for a personal emblem, well after the Buccleuch miniature was painted. It could still be the Ormond falcon, though.

Anne’s identification as ‘the white falcon’ has its origins in the heraldic crests of the Butlers, earls of Ormonde. In 1529, Thomas Boleyn was recognised as the Butler heir and the falcon appears as a crest on his brass in Hever Church

The artist who copied the Buccleuch miniature must have been as equally at a loss at we are, because while the general outline of the figure on the brooch is followed, the figure now resembles that of a lady.

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The tiny figure has perfectly the silhouette of a lady from Henry VIII's reign. She is facing slightly to the viewer's left. You can see her little «French hood», her black veil falling behind her shoulders. Her skirt is draped on the grass. She has a blue wrap or shawl, or blue furs, over her «arms». A miniature within a miniature.

But who was this lady meant to represent?

Queen Elizabeth I Tudor's mother, Anne Boleyn?

Anne Boleyn – NPG 668

Anne Boleyn – NPG 668

Elizabeth herself? Her mother keeping her over her heart?

Elizabeth I when a Princess by William Scrots

Elizabeth I when a Princess by William Scrots

A thank you from Anne Boleyn to Katherine Parr, Elizabeth's beloved step-mother?

Katherine Parr by Master John

Katherine Parr by Master John

Or to Katherine Howard, also her step-mother and her mother's cousin, who was very kind to the child Elizabeth, calling her 'kinswoman' in a time not many claimed affinity with the executed and disgraced Anne Boleyn and her demoted child?

Katherine Howard by Hans Holbein the Younger

Katherine Howard by Hans Holbein the Younger

Or perhaps even all of the above? A homage to all the women above.

Close-up of Ontario Anne's falcon badge with the Ormond falcon superimposed

Close-up of Ontario Anne's falcon badge with the Ormond falcon superimposed

EDITED TO ADD:

I would like to thank one of my readers, Arlene Allen, for the creation of this image of a close-up of Ontario Anne's falcon badge with the Ormond falcon superimposed, and for linking me to it. The image can be found on Pinterest here. Arlene, please let me know if you have a problem with me including this image on my site. I thought it was very interesting and well done and would be honoured if you are okay with me including it.

Since the shape of the figure in the brooch in both of these two miniatures is essentially the same, these findings also go for the Buccleuch Miniature. 

It would have made a great deal of sense for Anne Boleyn to have been portrayed with the Ormond falcon in the 1520's.

I still maintain that the little figure in the Royal Ontario Miniature looks like a miniature Tudor lady, however the outline of the shape in the Buccleuch Miniature has been followed carefully.

If I am correct in that the Royal Ontario Miniature is a later copy of the Buccleuch Miniature, then roughly 30 years separate the mid-to-late 1520's from the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, and as previously stated the exact nature and the meaning of the symbol may have been lost, though Elizabeth herself used her mother's symbol. Perhaps the Ormond falcon was of much less importance to Elizabeth's court painter.

Miniatures Attributed to Lucas Horenbout

As I was scrolling down miniatures attributed to Lucas Horenbout/bolte, the same miniatures we or anybody interested in Tudor history have seen a thousand times, something struck me as odd, or rather, it didn't strike me as odd right away.

Katherine of Aragon Attributed to Lucas Horenbout

Katherine of Aragon Attributed to Lucas Horenbout

The Buccleuch Miniature Portrait

The Buccleuch Miniature Portrait

«Miniature Watercolour on vellum set in gold frame 4.2 cm [diameter]. Inscriptions: Engraved on 19h century cartouche: KATHARINE OF ARRAGON. First known owner Charles II. From Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Collection.»

The de Wet Miniature Portrait – Portrait miniature of a Gentleman, attributed to Lucas Hornebolte, c.1525. Watercolour and bodycolour on vellum. 4 cm diameter. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. (http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1267671/portrait-miniature-of-a-gentleman-miniature-horenbout-lucas/)

The de Wet Miniature Portrait – Portrait miniature of a Gentleman, attributed to Lucas Hornebolte, c.1525. Watercolour and bodycolour on vellum. 4 cm diameter. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. (http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1267671/portrait-miniature-of-a-gentleman-miniature-horenbout-lucas/)

The Yale Miniature Portrait - Unknown Lady Attributed to Levina Teerlinc (d. 1576) Gouache on thin card; 1 7/8 in. ca. 1535-45, Provenance: Paul Mellom (d. 1999), by whom; Gifted to Yale Center for British Art, 1966.

The Yale Miniature Portrait - Unknown Lady Attributed to Levina Teerlinc (d. 1576) Gouache on thin card; 1 7/8 in. ca. 1535-45, Provenance: Paul Mellom (d. 1999), by whom; Gifted to Yale Center for British Art, 1966.

REX * HENRICVS * OCTAVVS

REX * HENRICVS * OCTAVVS

* REGINA * KATHERINA * EIVS * UXOR *

* REGINA * KATHERINA * EIVS * UXOR *

As I was scrolling I noticed that one of them had a lot more letters on them than the others.

I had of course noticed this lettering before, but simply assumed that they were Roman numerals.

You'll have to forgive me, but we did not have Latin in school. Barely Roman numerals. I naturally recognised V and X, and I thought that I would now take the time to find out what O and R stood for.

Much to my surprise, they didn't appear to be Roman numerals at all. Could it be a word? VXOR? I tried googling it, and got only gobbledygook. I thought about it until I finally remembered this weird word I had once read, uxorious, which I had had to look up.

uxorious – having or showing a great or excessive fondness for one's wife

I tried substituting the V with a U. Could it be the Latin word for or have something to do with the Latin word for wife? Now that I had found the solution on my own, Google was obliging. UXOR is indeed the Latin word for wife.

Now that I had understood that it was indeed words, and not just Roman numerals, assembling the rest of the text and translating it was easy.

* REGINA * KATHERINA * EIVS * UXOR * – Queen Katherine his wife

There was another one that seemed to have more text on it than the others. That one said:

REX * HENRICVS * OCTAVVS – King Henry the Eight

Okay. So King Henry the Eight and Queen Katherine his wife. That seemed clear enough. But ... Wait a minute. Weren't it only posthumous miniatures that were inscribed? Isn't that why are struggling to try to identify these? Because it wasn't usual to inscribe miniatures and paintings with names?

Could the miniatures ... be posthumous?

Comments

me123

07.12.2022 21:47

It looks like The Tau cross derives from the Egyptian Ankh and basically they are wearing it around their necks, life rebirth, salvation mirror. sun.Stonehenge looks like it is made up of Ts to form c

me123

07.12.2022 21:30

are wearing the symbol on effigies at Ingham church Norfolk and Henry StanleyD1528 at Hillingdon Middlesex.Countess Jacquline of Hainaut and husband Frank Borsele are also wearing the insignia others

me123

07.12.2022 21:23

These Queens could of been members of the order and i think the Tau cross is a symbol of the Holy Trinity also.These pendants could of been reliquaries.Lady margaret de Bois and Roger de bois

me123

07.12.2022 21:17

I think the Tau cross that they are wearing could be linked to the(knights) order of St Anthony, Mary 1st collar looks like it may represent the knotted girdle/waist cord of st Anthony .

Howard Jones

08.06.2022 08:17

In the rose portrait of Boleyn at Hever Castle Regina has been misspelt (misspelled?) with a C instead of a G.. An odd mistake even if it is a Latin word.

Howard Jones

08.06.2022 08:08

Hello Site Owner.If interested in Elizabeth Seymour check painting by Holbein in the Vienna Museum and check her brooch.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/199706564700021059/

Spelling needed re-boot

Howard Jones

07.06.2022 19:04

Hello Site Owner.If interestedc in Elizabeth Seymour check painting by Holbein in the Viena Museum and check her broach.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/199706564700021059/

jordan

22.04.2022 01:42

randomStuff

David Wilson

07.12.2021 12:49

In the old photo of the Henry & Catherine of Aragon with the monkey framed as a pair, the inscription on Henry's miniature is "ANO XXX" rather than the current "HR*VIII* *ANO XXXV*" Any thoughts?

David Wilson

06.12.2021 19:40

An HD photo of the Royal Ontario miniature show that it was reworked. The lapets were originally as long as the Buccleuch version.

R. Hui

28.08.2020 21:58

Very interesting site, and thanks for mentioning some my findings.

If you're interested, I've created a companion Facebook page to my 'Tudor Faces' blog at: facebook.com/TudorFaces-100733881750006

Site Owner

30.08.2020 12:02

Thank you so much! How great to hear from you 😊 It was your article about those miniatures that made me first create this site. I have always found your theories very interesting, and some of them

Site Owner

30.08.2020 12:01

have been absolutely key to my own theories 😊 I will absolutely be cheching the Facebook page out!

arlene allen

28.11.2019 17:03

Falcon on Ontario Anne closeup with Butler falcon imposed.
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/453878468675949464/.

Site Owner

13.08.2020 20:18

I want thank you so much for creating this and for linking me to it. It is very cleverly and impressively done. I have incorporated it into the text (with link and full credit to you, of course!)

The Royal Ontario Miniature (detail)

The Royal Ontario Miniature (detail)

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Latest comments

07.12 | 21:47

It looks like The Tau cross derives from the Egyptian Ankh and basically they are wearing it around their necks, life rebirth, salvation mirror. sun.Stonehenge looks like it is made up of Ts to form c

07.12 | 21:30

are wearing the symbol on effigies at Ingham church Norfolk and Henry StanleyD1528 at Hillingdon Middlesex.Countess Jacquline of Hainaut and husband Frank Borsele are also wearing the insignia others

07.12 | 21:23

These Queens could of been members of the order and i think the Tau cross is a symbol of the Holy Trinity also.These pendants could of been reliquaries.Lady margaret de Bois and Roger de bois

07.12 | 21:17

I think the Tau cross that they are wearing could be linked to the(knights) order of St Anthony, Mary 1st collar looks like it may represent the knotted girdle/waist cord of st Anthony .

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