Anne Boleyn portraits may not be of her, scientists say

Facial recognition software that maps paintings to match them with other works of art has determined that two portraits of Boleyn do not match a contemporaneous miniature that is considered to be the only undisputed likeness of the queen.
By Veronica Linares Contact the Author   |  Feb. 17, 2015 at 9:50 AM
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LONDON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A famous portrait of King Henry VIII's wife Anne Boleyn that hangs at the National Portrait Gallery may not be of the former queen, a new study has determined.

Facial recognition software that maps paintings to match them with other works of art has determined the portraits do not match a contemporaneous miniature of Boleyn that is considered to be the only undisputed likeness of the queen, reports the Telegraph.

Tested were the "Anna Bolina" portrait, a copy of a 1953 painting that hangs in London's National Portrait Gallery, and the Hever Castle portrait, which is a copy of a portrait from Tudor England.

Multiple portraits of Boleyn were destroyed following her execution in 1536. However, when her daughter Elizabeth I took the throne in 1558, Boleyn's likeness came back into vogue. The portraits hanging at the gallery are believed to be based on a noblewoman who resembled the former queen, that were relabeled and adapted to look more like Boelyn.

The face recognition algorithm, which was developed by University of California Professor Amit Roy-Chowdhury, found a match for the 1.4-inch miniature of Boleyn known as "The Most Happi" medal in a portrait labelled "The Most Excellent Princesse Anne Boleyn," which historians originally thought was actually based in the likeness of Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII's third wife.

The software has also revealed that two portraits of playwright William Shakespeare are not really of him.

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