Daniel Maclise, R.A.
- Daniel Maclise, R.A.
- HENRY VIII'S FIRST INTERVIEW WITH ANNE BOLEYN
- signed and dated l.l.: D. MACLISE 1835
- oil on canvas
Private collection, USA, since the mid-1970s
London, British Institution, 1836, no. 61
Daniel Maclise 1806-1870, exhibition catalogue, National Portrait Gallery, London, and National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1972, p. 16
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Daniel Maclise turned to historical subjects in the early 1830s. The present subject, which was shown at the British Institution in 1836, shows the first meeting of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, which occurred in about 1527 and which led to their marriage in 1533 following the annulment of the king's first marriage to Catherine of Aragon. In 1536 Anne was tried on dubious charges of adultery and beheaded in the Tower of London. Maclise's painting shows Henry standing on a low dais and with Anne demurely standing at his side. Members of the court occupy the surrounding space, and seem to be aware of the likely repercussions of the evident attraction that he feels for her. In the shadows to the left is seen the figure of a cardinal of the Catholic Church, who raises his hand to his mouth in a gesture that expresses his concern that a known supporter of the Protestant cause should have gained the particular favour of the king. As queen, Anne did her utmost to promote Reformation doctrines. The interior is intended to represent Hampton Court, the splendid palace that Henry took over after Cardinal Wolsey had been discredited and forced from office.