Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

A Ramble Round Early Tudor England

I watched the first episode of Wolf Hall and then joined the ranks of the several million who didn't bother to return for a second look. Yes, it's perfectly fine and Mark Rylance is splendid, but...

I've read the books,

I know the history (I did the Tudors at "O" level),

I've seen The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Six Wives of Henry VIII and A Man For All Seasons,

I'm not that interested in Henry VIII. (Well I'm a little bit interested- but I don't want him for breakfast, dinner and tea)

And Wolf Hall isn't Mantell's best book. Her best book is Beyond Black.

Incidentally, I thought Waldemar Januszczak made a good point when he suggested that our fascination with the Henrician court has a lot to do with Hans Holbein, who- during his time in England- produced the greatest group of portraits of any power elite ever. Thanks to him we know exactly what these people looked like.

Except of course for Anne Boleyn. After her death there was a positively Stalinist campaign to make it as if she'd never existed- and the only undisputed image we have of her is on a lead medallion- and it's badly scuffed. Now- thanks to a recently developed facial recognition programme- there's another contender. It's not a particulary good painting- probably the copy of a copy of a copy- but the face is a good, strong face- and if there's one thing we know about Anne it's that she was amazingly strong.

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