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Lady Anne

"Lady Anne" is copyright  1998 by James G. Mundie. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited.

Pen and ink, 9.5 x 7.5 inches, 1998
Collection of Sophie & Edwin Bronstein

The inspiration for this piece came from a legend about the romantic entanglements of one of history's most notorious monarchs. The story has it that Henry VIII of England — wasting no efforts in his attempt to discredit his second queen, Anne Boleyn, and thereby clear the marital path to wife number three — spread the word that Anne, in addition to the official line about being an adulterer/traitor, was possessed of a supernumerary breast.

Such a gland (real or imagined) was known as a “witch's teat” and came with all the connotations that name implies. Satan himself was said to suckle there. If Anne Boleyn did actually possess anything unusual in that area, the so-called teat would probably have been little more than a mole or at most a superfluous nipple — both of which are quite common. Anne is said to have had a mole on her neck which was considered unsightly, so she took to wearing a black velvet ribbon to cover it. Regardless, this chat about a fifty percent bonus of cleavage in the royal décolletage did get people whispering that their young queen might deserve a trip to the stake or dunking stool.

Anne is also rumored to have been polydactyl — that is, having more than the usual five digits per hand. She is said to have hidden her extra fingers in long sleeves, which started a new fashion craze at court. Presumably, these additional fingers further confirmed her as a witch and therefore a danger to national security. Clearly, the tarot deck was stacked against her.

Here I have presented the tragic queen prior to her visit to the chopping block with all of her alleged attributes prominently restored. We see her plucking petals from a Tudor rose, in a portrait after the manner of Hans Holbein the Younger.




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All Images and Text James G. Mundie 2003 - 2010