Never Before Seen Portrait: Thomas Seymour

While perusing the Tudor-net I came across a link to Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The link brings you to a mostly white page with red accents and… oh yeah, a sketch by Hans Holbein the Younger that might also be Thomas Seymour.

Copyright: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2017. All Rights Reserved

This portrait is of a man who is bare-headed, has a fairly neat beard and is wearing a fur collar. The museum states the sketch was made from 1535-1540. In my opinion we can narrow that down even further. When Thomas’ sister Jane married the King of England his status changed immediately, and because of that I can confidently say that the earliest date for this sketch would be 1536. In 1536, Seymour would have been roughly 30 years old. To me, the sitter of the sketch looks like he could be around that age.

We know Thomas Seymour had a beard and mustache, so that matches…but in all his other known portraits he is wearing a hat — appears to be the same hat in each portrait. The pin on his hat is for his ‘membership’ in the Order of the Garter.  Could this be Thomas?

If the oldest date that this could have been sketched was 1540, that would mean that King Henry VIII was still alive, and with that, Seymour had not yet been made a baron or Lord High Admiral.

In 1547 Thomas Seymour was made Knight of the Garter. Is this how a knight, and brother-in-law to the King would dress? In my opinion, most definitely. All of the current portraits we know of Thomas Seymour all having him wearing black, and the same black plumed hat with the Garter pin.


DO YOU BELIEVE THE SITTER COULD BE THOMAS SEYMOUR?

Source:

Holbein Sketch: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2017. All Rights Reserved

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Anne Boleyn: A New Theory (Guest Post)

Anne Boleyn- A New Theory

Guest Post by P. Deegan

Recently, I saw an older article that mentioned the Holbein sketch of a woman in night attire probably is Anne Boleyn as it is labelled (the labeling having been done later, some questions have been raised about the accuracy of the attribution). I was quite taken by the pudgy looking chin she seems to have in the portrait. Especially when Chapuys referred to her as that ‘thin old woman’ and then there is Nicholas Sanders claim that she had a ‘large wen under her chin’. Nobody takes Nicholas Sanders seriously as he claimed all sorts of things but I thought I’d do a minor root round on the web and see if there was a possible cause. I’d now like to make a suggestion…

Hans Holbein sketch thought to be Anne Boleyn
Hans Holbein sketch thought to be Anne Boleyn

Often a lump in that place is due to an infection – there’s a lymph gland there – but that should go down when the infection finishes and not be long-term. I’m not 100% sure but it might have been the effects of a goiter – indicating a thyroid malfunction. It’s a little high but some images on the web seem to indicate that sometimes there is swelling under the jaw as well as in the neck. If she didn’t dress tightly, hiding her build, then a casual observer may just have thought she’d put a few pounds on with the puffiness under her chin.



Apparently if the goiter causes hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid being produced) this can cause fetal tachycardia when the woman becomes pregnant. Which might explain the loss of the child in January.

It also might explain her dreadfully fast fall from grace. The historian Retha Warnicke built a fascinating hypothesis on the basis that she had given birth to a deformed fetus. What if her reasons on the fast processes were true but not because of the child she lost but because she had developed a lump under her chin, round her neck that indicated some illness. We know how paranoid Henry was about illness – that would definitely motivate him to set in motion the processes that would eventually lead to her execution. Maybe he waited until she was back at court – to see if she was better? – then when he saw she still had the swelling, he got onto Cromwell to get things in motion.

Just an idea…

Note from author: Further to my slightly provocative post suggesting that maybe Anne Boleyn might have suffered from a thyroid malfunction, a further thought occurs to me on this subject. Problems with your thyroid can cause your eyes to slightly bulge and one of the insults supposedly said at her coronation was that she was a *goggle eyed* whore. Suggestive?

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