Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, arrested on this day 1536


It was on May 2nd 1536 that Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, was arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft.

However the forthcoming Battles and Dynasties exhibition in Lincoln will display a portrait of Anne Boleyn from happier times.

It was Anne Boleyn who first introduced Hans Holbein the Younger to the royal court when he returned to England in 1532.  He designed an arch for her coronation procession and a rose-water fountain which she gave to the king as a new-year gift in 1534.  The identification of the subject of this exquisite drawing as Anne has been disputed but it seems unlikely that the inscription could be mistaken; it is of later date but derives ultimately from information provided by Sir John Cheke who knew the queen well.

The queen is portrayed wearing a night gown and chemise, with an undercap on her head.  This simple costume has been taken as another piece of evidence in favour of the identification with Anne Boleyn.  The Queen’s Privy Chamber was, despite its name, a public rather than a private place, and the king himself was recorded as receiving visitors in a night gown.

The portrait of Anne Boleyn was drawn with chalks on paper by Hans Holbein the Younger, c.1533 – 6. The exhibit is generously loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection Trust. The Battles and Dynasties exhibition opens on 27th May and will run until 3rd September at The Collection and Lincoln Castle.

Our thanks to Dr Nicholas Bennett for the detailed text and source information.