I spent a large part of last Saturday in Westminster Abbey. We lingered at the tomb of Elizabeth I whose effigy sports the latest crown, the third since the tomb’s completion in 1606. Apparently the previous two were stolen – does anyone have any information about when and how?
We returned for evensong; it was a wonderful experience to be seated in the quire where so many great moments have been celebrated; the choristers were in good voice as well. The day before we took in the Henry exhibition at the British Library, which was excellent and is to be recommended. Lara, you need to get yourself over here!
One of the things that surprised me most was the amount of minute detail on the Mary Tudor/Charles Brandon portrait, especially on his Order of the Garter collar. The objects Mary is holding are very clearly an artichoke and a caduceus, as discussed on earlier post on this site. The British Library is slightly off the beaten tourist track and there were few visitors to the exhibition, so we could have the luxury of reading all the information at our leisure. I’m from Lincolnshire and felt rather emotional at being so close to the Pilgrimage of Grace documents and those dealing with the killing of the carthusians at Tyburn, one of whom was the prior from the Epworth Charterhouse, a few miles from where I live.
Although all the documents were a joy to see, if I could have brought anything home it would have been the Sittow 1502 portrait of the young Katherine of Aragon, much smaller than I had expected but beautifully painted. Is the halo-like object behind her part of her headdress?