Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thoughts on Hever

I was looking back through my photos of Hever Castle and felt the need to blog about a few things I found there which disappointed me. There is so much rich, colorful history behind this castle that they can be in no shortage of things to exhibit to visitors. Besides Anne and Mary Boleyn having grown up at Hever, there are always Henry VIII's visits, Anne of Cleves, other relics of the 16th century and those of the life of former owner, William Waldorf Astor. Not to mention, Anne was mother to Elizabeth I and there is no lack of items from her reign.

Yet those in charge of running the castle have chosen to exhibit a portrait of Mary I in the Staircase Gallery adjacent to that of Anne's daughter, Elizabeth. Besides the animosity between Anne and Mary during Anne's lifetime, there is also the uneasy history of Mary and Elizabeth. Mary came very close - on more than one occasion - to ordering Elizabeth's execution. I found it completely inappropriate that there be a portrait of her in Anne's home.

Once I got my dander up about this, I felt a bit put-out by the portrait and representations of Jane Seymour there as well. Even Catherine of Aragon's portrait probably does not belong! Upstairs in the Long Gallery, there is a display of six mannequins to portray all six of Henry's wives. This didn't bother me quite as much. It is fine to see history represented and the key figures involved, but not individual portraits hung in remembrance of women who brought the house's inhabitants such pain!

Tell me what you think!
Have you ever been to Hever and if so, did these portraits bother you at all?
Do you think it's good that they include portraits of those who influenced Anne and her family?

1 comment:

  1. You know, I had never thought about the placing of the portraits but I guess you're right - they're definitely not people who Anne would like to see represented in her family home!
    I think that Hever Castle are just trying to appeal to a wider audience than just us Anne fans and that's why they need to display these other portraits. Perhaps Anne with her "black" humour would have a good laugh about it and also Hampton Court Palace's "Witch Garden" in their flower show in July!
    Great post, Kristian!