Friday, December 12, 2014

BeingBess Memes: The Ditchley Portrait

"Because I'm all about that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble" - The Ditchley Portrait.

The Ditchley Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. Image public domain through Creative Commons licensing, NPG, London. Modified for meme by BeingBess.

Monday, December 8, 2014

BeingBess Memes: A Case of the Mondays

Looks like somebody has a case of the Mondays at Hampton Court Palace...

A case of the Mondays... Picture © BeingBess.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Questioning the Validity of Queen Elizabeth I Conspiracy Theories

Portrait of Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury. By Rowland Lockey, 1592. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.

     Recently I've seen quite a few celebratory posts on Facebook about a blog post on a certain blog (which I will decline to give publicity here) claiming that a portrait of Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury by Rowland Lockey (1592) is actually a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. Furthermore, the blog post claims that this portrait of Bess-turned-Queen Elizabeth proves that she had an illegitimate child. While I acknowledge that everyone, including myself, subscribes to at least one or two historical conspiracy theories, can we please let the "Queen Elizabeth I had an illegitimate child/ren" theory die once and for all? There are so many historical reasons why she would not/could not have had secret children. 

     Also, regrettably The da Vinci Code seems to have made everyone think that they can find a hidden meaning behind every portrait that has ever been painted in the history of mankind (and remember that Dan Brown's work is considered fiction). While Tudor and Elizabethan portraiture is certainly loaded with symbols with dual meanings, I assure you, the squiggles in Bess of Hardwick's hair and the lines on her dress do not reveal her secret royal identity. Furthermore, in my opinion, anyone making a claim this outlandish had better have at least a graduate degree in art history, if not a PhD, and ideally have published some scholarly journal articles on 16th century portraiture. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

1553: The Trial of Jane Grey and Accomplices

Signature of Lady Jane Grey, signed 'Jane the Quene', during her brief tenure on the throne of England. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.

On this day in 1553, the usurper Lady Jane Grey, her husband Guildford Dudley, and his brothers Ambrose and Henry Dudley, were all tried for treason at the London Guildhall on the orders of Queen Mary I. Archbishop Cranmer was also tried there as well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

1555: Queen Mary I Makes England Catholic Again

Dual portrait of Catholic monarchs Queen Mary I of England and her husband, Spanish monarch King Philip II of Spain. Portrait acquired through Wikimedia commons Image public domain.

On this day in 1555, during the reign of Queen Mary I, Parliament re-established England as a Catholic nation subservient to Rome. England would remain a Catholic state until Mary's death in 1558,when the Protestant Elizabeth Tudor came to the throne.

Also on this day: In 1541, Queen Katherine Howard was examined regarding claims of her alleged infidelity.

Tamzin Merchant as Katherine Howard in the series The Tudors. Photo credit Showtime/BBC America.