Sunday, 5 October 2014

Elizabeth 1st's locket ring at the National Portrait Gallery

In London at the weekend, and with an hour to fill, I visited the National Portrait Gallery, with my favourite gallery being the Tudors.  I never tire of seeing those portraits close up, and occasionally new ones are borrowed to show.  I was thrilled to find a new exhibition called 'The Real Tudors - rediscovering the Kings  and Queens'.   Ok so most of the portraits are permanent - but one exhibit was Elizabeth 1st's locket ring.   Elizabeth Ist had a ring made with 2 small portraits inside - one of her profile, and the other of a lady wearing a French hood and seemingly her mother Anne Boleyn.  It's enchanting!  What a wonderful memorial to her mother.   The ring is kept at a house called Chequers, the 'country' home of serving British Prime Ministers.  I've never had the chance to see it before. And to think I only saw it because I had an hour to fill - what luck!  Other gems included a page from the diary of the 9 year old son of Henry VIII, Edward VI,  and a rosary that had belonged to Henry VIII with his initials and those of Katherine of Aragon.  The exhibition runs until March 2015.  

6 comments:

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Anerje, have I ever mentioned to you that while in London I was toying with the idea to put up a tent in the Tudor section of the Gallery and stay there for at least a week? :-) The Tudors are not my favourite English rulers, but I love the paintings of the era.

Anerje said...

Lol Kasia! That's a very good idea. The Tudors are my ultimate favourites. There is so much going on in their portraits. Lots of background clues. The Tudor gallery is too small in my opinion and they frequently lend out or borrow portraits, so sometimes it's disappointing and then other times it's a real treat. Because of the current exhibition, other portraits are off show - Wolsey, Thomas Cranmer and the Seymour brothers are missing, along with lots of others - from the 'wives' there was only Anne Boleyn and Katherine Parr.

Kathryn Warner said...

Fab! I've never been to the National Portrait Gallery, unfortunately. One day...!

Anerje said...

Definitely worth a visit Kathryn - you could easily spend a day there. Unfortunately, there are no Edward II portraits on permanent view - they borrowed a monarchy set painted in Tudor times, that's all. If only we could discover a locket ring belonging to Edward - we know whose portrait he'd have inside! Such a shame there's no likeness of Piers

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Katherine Parr will do. At least as far as I am concerned :-) Her portrait by Master John is one of my all time favourites. The colours, the dress, the richness of the texture (of the fur, for instance) all the details. Delightful...

Perhaps you will find it strange, but Henry's wife I admire most is definitely Katherine of Aragon. I think it's because of her firmness and unweavering courage (although Katherine Parr must have been a brave woman too- she did marry Henry, after all :-)). I purchased a small copy of her portrait while in Hampton Court and it stays with me when I cook in the kitchen. You may laugh, but kitchen is my favourite place so I usually keep my favourite objects there (e.g. the copy of John Everett Milais's Autumn Leaves or his Sophy Gray). I do my Henry the Young King research at the kitchen's table :-)

The ring is indeed a thing of beauty. I too love to see a locket ring belonging to Edward. You're right about whose portrait we would find inside :-) No other options :-)

Anerje said...

Hi Kasia, yes, Katherine Parr's portrait is stunning. I agree about the detail on the dress. Of course, I was brought up to think that portrait was Lady Jane Grey, until it was properly authenticated. I admire Katherine tremendously - for her intellect and writings - she was an excellent role model for women. I have visited Sudeley Castle a couple of times, and last time bought copies of some of her writings, including 'Lamentations of a sinner'.

Hmmm - my favourite wife is Anne Boleyn! I admire her courage and determination, and forgive her faults. In many ways, Anne and Piers have a lot in common - they both, as I put it, put 2 fingers up to the establishment! I love Anne's device - 'Let them grumble'. There is so much to collect on Anne and the other wives - it's a hobby for me.

We always seem to go for opposites with our favs:>

Kitchens are very important - in student days, it was where everyone met for a cup of tea, and my kitchen is cosy and where I can use my laptop as well:>