Children of Japan

Children of Japan
Courtesy, R. John Wright

Hinges and Hearts

Hinges and Hearts
An Exhibit of our Metal Dolls

Tuxedo and Bangles

Tuxedo and Bangles

A History of Metal Dolls

A History of Metal Dolls
Now on Alibris.com and In Print! The First Book of its Kind

Alice, Commemorative Edition

Alice, Commemorative Edition
Courtesy, R. John Wright

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Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory

Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory
Her Grace wishes us all a Merry Christmas!

Annabelle

Annabelle

Emma Emmeline

Emma Emmeline
Our New Addition/fond of stuffed toys

Cloth Clown

Cloth Clown

Native American Art

Native American Art

the triplets

the triplets

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby
Bought Athens on the street

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Sand Baby Swirls!

Sand Baby Swirls!
By Glenda Rolle, courtesy, the Artist

Glenda's Logo

Glenda's Logo
Also, a link to her site

Sand Baby Castaway

Sand Baby Castaway
By Glenda Rolle, Courtesy the Artist

A French Friend

A French Friend

Mickey

Mickey
From our friends at The Fennimore Museum

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll
British Museum, Child's Tomb

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll
Among first "Toys?"

ushabti

ushabti
Egyptian Tomb Doll 18th Dynasty

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

Popular Posts

Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase

Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase
Courtesy, Antique Daughter

Judge Peep

Judge Peep

Hakata Doll Artist at Work

Hakata Doll Artist at Work
From the Museum Collection

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Japanese Costume Barbies

Japanese Costume Barbies
Samurai Ken

Etienne

Etienne
A Little Girl

Happy Heart Day

Happy Heart Day

From "Dolls"

From "Dolls"
A Favorite Doll Book

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Jenny Wren

Jenny Wren
Ultimate Doll Restorer

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Baby Boo 1960s

Baby Boo 1960s
Reclaimed and Restored as a childhood Sabrina the Witch with Meow Meow

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum
L to R: K*R /celluloid head, all bisque Artist Googly, 14 in. vinyl inuit sixties, early celluloid Skookum type.

Two More Rescued Dolls

Two More Rescued Dolls
Late Sixties Vinyl: L to R: Probably Horseman, all vinyl, jointed. New wig. R: Effanbee, probably Muffy, mid sixties. New wig and new clothing on both. About 12 inches high.

Restored Italian Baby Doll

Restored Italian Baby Doll
One of Dr. E's Rescued Residents

Dolls on Display

Dolls on Display
L to R: Nutcrackers, Danish Troll, HItty and her book, Patent Washable, Mechanical Minstrel, Creche figure, M. Alexander Swiss. Center is a German mechanical bear on the piano. Background is a bisque German costume doll.

A Few Friends

A Few Friends
These dolls are Old German and Nutcrackers from Dr. E's Museum. They are on loan to another local museum for the holidays.

Vintage Collage

Vintage Collage
Public Domain Art

The Merry Wanderer

The Merry Wanderer
Courtesy R. John Wright, The Hummel Collection

The Fennimore Doll Museum

The Fennimore Doll Museum

Robert

Robert
A Haunted Doll with a Story

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

The Cody Jumeau

The Cody Jumeau
Long-faced or Jumeau Triste

German Princesses

German Princesses
GAHC 2005

A Little PowerRanger

A Little PowerRanger
Halloween 2004

The Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls
Shrine to Dolls in Mexico

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death

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Doll House murder

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A lovely dress

A lovely dress

Raggedy Ann

Raggedy Ann
A few friends in cloth!

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI
Pixar Animator's Collection

Little PM sisters

Little PM sisters
Recent eBay finds

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Really old Dolls!

Really old Dolls!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Collector's Call on MeTV

Here is the link with information on this new show for collectors, "with a twist."

https://www.metv.com/collectorscall/share

The Host is Lisa Welchel, from "Facts of Life."  First episode is April 7th, 9 pm cst.  I'm waiting with great anticipation to see what this show will be like, and how collectors will be portrayed.

When I was little, I loved "Facts of Life."  Many of the sweaters my mother bought me often appeared on the characters of the show.  It was Part The Secret Language, Part Jane Eyre, Part Little Women.

Mark your calendars now!!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Suzanne Gibson, NIADA Artist and Virtual Doll Collection


Many artists turn to creating dolls because they are a fresh medium, something to take their art in another direction.  Artists who recognized the importance of the relationship between dolls and art founded the National Institute of American Doll Artists, NIADA, in 1963. Originally, four artists founded NIADA, Helen Bullard, Gertrude Florian, Magge Head, and Fawn Zeller. Today, there are over 60 members elected by their peers and member-patrons.  The purpose behind founding NIADA was to recognize the art behind original, hand made dolls.  Members hold annual get-togethers that include visiting doll makers and doll fans to share work and ideas with each other.  There is also a NIADA school for those who wish to learn doll making techniques from the artists of NIADA. The artists’ group also offers publications on artist dolls.  For more information about the annual conference and school, visit the NIADA website, www.niada.org.

 One of the Vinyl Kalico Kids, Tsagaris collection.



For many years, I was a pen pal of the late Suzanne Gibson, a NIADA artist known for her Kalico Kids and porcelain little girl series.   She was trained as a ballet dancer and was from Capitola, CA, not far from my family.  When I was nine my dad bought me one of the little girl dolls of porcelain from Knott’s Berry Farm.  The legend was that Gibson only made three dolls from each mold then broke it, though the dolls were clearly sisters.  They resembled each other closely.  My Dad used to say that his hand hurt from writing the check.  She is a lovely little girl with long lashes, long, strawberry blonde curls with pink ribbons, and a white eyelet dress and bloomers. Her shoes and stockings are also white.  There were other little girls, and Suzanne sent me a picture of one with dark curls and a pink dress.  She made vinyl dolls for several years with Reeves International, including a Mother Goose set in collaboration with Steiff.  The Kalico Kids were a departure, and based on her own childhood.  She sent me an autographed copy of her book about them at one point.

S. Gibson Holly by Reeves International via Public domain




When I went to a doll show, I would check on her dolls, if any.  I only found vinyl versions of the Kalico Kids and other dolls.   Currently, the Reeves dolls are a bargain on ebay.

Spinning Wheel's Complete Book of dolls features Gibson in an article; there is a great scion on doll artists in the book.  The NIADA sight is full of information, of course.  Many artists are past members of NIADA, and there are other groups, but notable artists include Debbie Ritter, Uneek Doll designs, R. John Wright, elinor peace bailey, Greg Ortiz and many BJD artists and designers. Glenda Rolle, featured in photos on this blog, does great sand babies and jewelry.

Teracotta doll bust by the author, c. 1988.

Spinning Wheel’s Complete Book of Dolls has a good article about her, and a good section on Doll artists.  Other books include Max von Boehn’s Dolls, Carl Fox’s The Doll,  Clara Hallard Fawcett’s books, Janet Pagter Johl’s and Eleanor St. George’s books that talk about Emma Clear, Helen Young’s The Complete Book of Doll Collecting, Edwina Ruggles’, The One Rose, Spinning Wheel’s Complete Book of Dolls, vol. I, Doll Reader Magazine, Doll Castle News, Kimport’s Doll Talk, Manfred Bachman’s Dolls, the Wide World Over, and Bernice’s BambiniWonderful books by NIADA include   Krystyna Poray Goddu, ed., The Art of the Doll: Contemporary Work of the National Institute of American Doll Artists. NIADA, 1992, and other books by Goddu on the artists. NIADA serves many wonderful purposes in the world of dolls, but the artists remind us above all of the historical and artistic value of dolls for collectors and doll lovers of all ages.

R:  Dealer Laverne Koddy with a Jan McClean doll.

The author's Baby Dear, originally designed by Eloise Wilkin.
This version c. 1964,  and she wears a dress from her varied
wardrobe.  She is the author's favorite doll. 

Fairy with butterfly wings, artist made

Art doll by Joniak.

COD character doll, coinciding with movements in the Bauhaus Art
Movement and German Realism.


Older artists and designers include Joseph Kallus, Cameo Doll company and innovator of the modern vinyl Kewpie, Rose O' Neill, Grace Story Putnam, Grace Drayton, Grace Corey Rockwell, Johnny Gruelle, A. Marque, Picasso, Degas, Tony Sarg, and Bil Baird.


Doll on lower right holding Joan Walsh Anglund Doll
is porcelain S. Gibson little girl doll


Other doll artists, some former NIADA members are Magge Head Kane, R. John Wright, Glenda Rolle [see her sand babies on this blog], R. Lane Herron, and Teri Long-Long Gone Dolls.  A. Marque and is an artist of the past that created dolls, as did DeWees Cochran, Madame Alexander, Dorothy Heizer and Emma Clear .  Peggy Jo Rosamund is an amazing paper doll artist.  Robin Woods did amazing work, and so did Anna Avigail Brahms.  The list goes on.


Bil Baird Puppet, photo the author

Dolls and art have gone hand in hand for centuries.  Even in prehistory, humans were creating small statues of women and an occasional man according to their standards of aesthetic beauty.  Artists used small articulated models or lay figures to create masterpieces of art.  A few artists like Marque, Picasso, and Degas,  either created dolls, or were inspired by dolls to create other works of art.  Many great artists, including Rembrandt, were collectors themselves. Leonardo da Vinci dabbled in creating automatons, along with other gadgets and machines.  Artists like Joseph Cornell and Jarvis Rockwell created works of art using dolls.  Norman Rockwell, father to Jarvis, painted them, as in his Doctor and Doll. The artistry of antique dolls influenced Pleasant Rowland’s American Girls.  Of course, sculptors and artists have always been involved in creating dolls for play and to collect. There are many non-NIADA books and magazines  about doll making including The Art Doll Quarterly.   Behind every Barbie, Kewpie, or Betsy Wetsy, there is an artist or sculptor working his or her particular doll magic.


Artist doll after the work of Ted de Grazia.  Author's collection.

Other great books abound on dolls and art, as well as videos of the Santa Fe Doll Art conventions. Just remember, behind every great doll, there is a great artist!  We will be featuring Helen Kish, George Stuart, Shelley Thornton and more at the June Virtual Doll Convention.

Pat Thompson, Vlasta Dolls. Author's Collection












Thursday, March 21, 2019

George Stuart’s Portrait of Anne Boleyn, Virtual Doll Convention, and a Brief Bio of the Tragic Queen


George Stuart’s Portrait of Anne Boleyn

George Stuart and his fantastic historical figures will be featured in the June Virtual Doll Convention.  One of these represents Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, and the first woman and queen to be beheaded in England.

Anne Boleyn by George Stuart, Gallery of Historical Figures via public domain.


Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s doomed queen, has inspired many works of art, music,  and literature, including dolls.  I have read and studied her since age 9, when my Dad took me and my friend to see Anne of the Thousand Days.  I have also presented papers about her and am writing a book about her.  The irony that Prince Harry and Megan Markle married on the day she was executed wasn’t lost on me, and her courage has inspired me and many others since her untimely death in 1536.

Stuart’s portrait shows a sorrowful Anne dressed as she might have been for her date with death. She holds her French hood in her hands, she is pale, and her eyes are closed.  Her skin is pale but flawless; the stories of strange birth marks and six fingers were spread largely by the Nicholas Sanders, who was a child when she died, and who had never seen her.   Her beautiful hair is bound up so as not to impede the French swordsman sent to dispatch her.

As with all his figures, Stuart has done meticulous research on Anne, which he shares on his website.  He has even done a YouTube video describing his process and her history.

Anne was not content to play the role of objet d’art often assigned to her. The obstacles she encountered in becoming Queen and in defending herself later served as barriers that influenced her to speak and to write. It is through her poems and letters that we see the woman emerge from the two dimensional image that history has assigned her. Many of her writings were destroyed, but a few remain to give us a glimpse into who she was, including her poem/lute song, "Defiled is my Name Full Sore."  She was a controversial figure in life, but even her enemies pitied her, including Mary I and Katharine of Aragon.  She was slandered at the end of her life, her family, relatives of Henry, were shamed, and her own brother was executed.   

With her death, Anne was somewhat vindicated; the German Protestants broke with Henry because of Anne’s execution, and Holinshed, Sir Thomas Wyatt, (contemporary poet and her cousin),  and Foxe, (Book of Protestant Martyrs), wrote openly in her defense.  Henry married the German princess Anne of Cleves in part to assuage the feelings of the German states.  The Lord Mayor and Constable of the Tower implicitly defended her as well. Another scaffold confession appears to vindicate Anne completely, but for the fact that its author was believed at times to be mad. Anne’s sister-in-law, Lady Jane Rochford, was executed with Anne’s cousin, Catherine Howard in 1542. Her last words were: “I am innocent of the crime of which I am accused, but I die justly because I lied long ago when I myself accused my husband George and Queen Anne of incest” (Rifal 168). Anne Boleyn had good cause to lament her good name for it would have been valuable to both her and her family. To enhance her value to her family, she received an impeccable education in The Netherlands and in France to prepare her for life at court. She was also renowned for her ability to speak French and for her eloquent manners, her wit, and her French fashions. It is for these reasons, she and her family would have expected her to make and advantageous marriage. Therefore, she would have shunned being a someone’s mistress, even the king’s, and prized her own chastity. It appears that Anne’s father planned her education for the time she was born.

Historians differ in fixing Anne's birth date, but it is generally agreed to be either 1501 or 1507 (Lofts 9). It is somewhat ironic that the birth of this remarkable woman  who was the mother of Elizabeth I was so inconsequential that no one bothered to record it correctly. Contrary to historical rumor, Anne was not of humble origins, but was born a great lady; one ancestor was Lord Mayor of London from 1457-58 (Ives 3). Her father, Thomas, was an envoy for Henry VII to Margaret, Duchess of Austria and Regent of the Netherlands (Warnicke 7). Thomas Boleyn was a favorite of Margaret, who was also a sister-in-law of Katharine of Aragon. In fact, it was Margaret who taught Katharine to speak French so that she could converse at the English court (Ives 23). As a result, Margaret agreed to provide for the education of Thomas’s daughter, Anne (Warnicke 7). Such an education would provide Anne with a good chance to be a maid of honor at the English court, where French was considered the language o culture. A French education beginning at Margaret’ court would also facilitate Anne’s chances to make an advantageous marriage, which would also advance her father and relatives (Ives 11).

Thomas Wyatt’s words on female relatives illustrate Anne’s position as pawn for the sake of the Boleyn and Howard families: “if a female relative be fair, if handsome by her middle, then sell her for a good price to ‘thy better’ and never let friendship get in the way of advantage-that is the only recipe” (11). Moreover, Thomas Boleyn was himself an educated man who spoke French and Latin and was known to study Erasmus (11). He would have appreciated the fine points of a good education in the same way that another Renaissance man, Sir Thomas More would, for his daughter. Learned women were even preferred over virtuous but unlearned women in the Renaissance, but the idea behind such reasoning was, in part, that the proper learning could increase a woman’s virtue (Wayne 22). “Proper learning” included proper ethical conduct, and the latter was intended to restrict women’s behavior and intellectual growth by training them to play specific roles ,e.g., wife, mother, maid of honor (22).


Anne Boleyn from the Tower of London, author's collection

Liberty of London, Six Wives of Henry VIII, author's collection

For Anne, this Christian humanist education meant that she would learn, among other things, to be able to converse well in French so that she could act as an interpreter of the ideas of others, not so that she could communicate her own. Under Margaret’s tutelage, Anne learned to speak French so fluently that she allegedly spoke English with a slight French accent. Peoples’ memories of Anne in The Netherlands portray an intelligent, alert and self-possessed young woman. She was a quick study and learned French by listening to the ladies at court, then imitating them (Ives 31). Foxe later praised her for “the rare and singular gifts of her mind, so well instructed . . .” (135). Anne could read the scriptures in French and may have owned books by Fish and Tyndale. Later, when she married, her Privy Purse accounts showed money spent for books for Henry (Warnicke 111). She also came to love painting, especially illuminated manuscripts and books (Ives 30). Furthermore, Margaret was a meticulous chaperon for a young girl and insisted on correct department and conversation. She id not even allow gossip in her household (26). Clearly, the young girls in her care were not allowed to engage in “by play” with men at court, and chastity and courtly loved played out according to conventions were emphasized (Ives 26-27). Margaret was also a good poet who used her verse to teach her charges lessons in behavior. In the following example, she is teaching her girls not to confide in their servants: “Thrust in those who offer you service, You will find yourselves In the ranks of those who’ve been Deceived” (quoted in Ives 26-27). Self-protection lay in self confidence and quick wit: “Fine words are the . . .[way] . . . to pay back . . . Word for word, that is justice . . . “(26-27). Anne Boleyn learned this lesson well and was well known during her life for her quick wit and intelligence.

 Yet, these virtues and Margaret’s lessons betrayed her when she was faced and attacked by men to whom the measured conventions of Margaret meant nothing (26-27).

Anne Boleyn by Shiva Rodriquez, Headless Historicals, via previous permission and
public domain


From the Regent’s court, Anne was sent to France as maid of honor or child of honor for Henry VIII’s sister, Mary Tudor (Lofts 14). Anne continued to learn to dress well, behave well at social events, play and sing, and converse pleasantly (Warnicke 13). After Louis died, Anne stayed on at Francis I’s court as a member of Queen Claude’s Household, and she may have met Leonardo da Vinci there (Bruce 25). Claude, though only fifteen when she became queen was “Intensely pious and ruled . … over a nunnery rather than a court:” (Quoted in Lofts 17). Claude was so morally upright, that after her death, it was suggested she be canonized (Bruce 21). Because she was bilingual in English and French, she was able to speak directly with Anne. As a person, Claude was shy, warm, and gentle and liked illuminated manuscripts, as did Anne’s mentor, Margaret (37). Perhaps it was from Claude and Margaret that Anne came to admire them, too. Though she bore seven children in rapid succession, she was still concerned for Anne’s welfare and provided her with a suitable governess, Francaise de Rohan, Countess of Tonverre (Warnicke 20). A poem written about Anne in 1536 by Lancelot du Carles, Bishop of Ruiz, confirms the close contact between Claude and Anne (Warnicke 21). Du Carles writes that Anne “zealously watched and imitated Claude’s maids of honor” (21). Another of Claude’s wards and a friend of Anne’s was Claude’s sister, Renee. Renee and Claude were daughters of Anne of Brittany. Rene, in 1561, said that she was especially fond of Elizabeth I because she knew Elizabeth’s mother as a child (21).  

Hever  Castle, Anne's Childhood Home, still open as an attraction in Kent. via can stock and public domain
, Also, Anne’s education would have allowed her to make an advantageous marriage. For this reason, she may have resented the break up of her engagement to Harry Percy. At one point, she angrily writes, “I have been waiting long, and might have contracted some advantageous marriage, out of which I might have had issue, which is the greatest consolation in this world, but alas! Farewell to my time and youth bent to no purpose at all” (quoted in Lofts 40). Apparently, Anne was writing Wolsey, and she was angry because he was tampering with her prospects for a good marriage. She is kept from becoming a “scold” because she has a legitimate right to contract an attractive match, and because she has responsibilities to her family, too. It is evident that Anne is negotiating for far more than the right to be the royal mistress. In sum, Anne’s formative years were spent absorbing French culture. She was introduced to various religious reforms and was educated with the most famous children of the age (27). Such company would have certainly heightened her own sense of personal worth and strengthened her ambition to elevate her status. The women who were her mentors were also strong female role models and patrons of the arts ( Bruce 27). During this time she also became interested in religious other than Catholicism. As Queen, she was abler to indulge these interests to some extent. For example, she was allowed to intercede for Lutherans who were in trouble with the Crown. At one point, one Thomas Passmore was released from the Lollard’s Tower because of her (Warnicke 111). Once again, her role models in these good deeds were the women of Claude’s court (111). In a letter that she wrote to Wolsey, Anne asks pardon for the Archdeacon of Oxford, whose goods had been seized by pleading “I beseech your Grace thereof; it is the conceit and mind of a woman” (Warnicke 64, n. 12). She admitted to Henry that she read William Tyndale’s forbidden book and encouraged Henry to read it, too (Warnicke 113).


Anne Boleyn, another portrait.  Public Domain

Whether her speech and writings involve religious, death, judgment, or courtly love, what emerges is an intelligent woman not content with the strictures of her time on women’s speech, though she had been trained to be a family asset and accomplished woman of the court. She is as full of contradictions as the English Court and its games. Yet, in her darkest hour, she reveals a grace under pressure and courage that moved even her enemies to admiration. The one person who could have vindicated her once and for all was silent, but that silence is not necessarily damning. Elizabeth I, too, spent time in prison fearing for her life. She knew the potential danger and instability of her position even when she became queen, and she could not risk it by insulting her father through praise of her mother. Throughout her reign, however, there are indications of what she really thought. For example, Anne is portrayed in a pageant celebrated to Honor Elizabeth’s reign. And, the most eloquent approbation of all is the fact that Elizabeth adopted her mother’s badge, the white falcon. The fact that more of Anne’s letters have not surfaced is suspect. As several biographers have noted, women are more likely to keep letters and keepsakes than men; yet even the few women we know were close to Anne did not apparently preserve her letters. It is entirely possible that they did not keep them for a time, but that they were gathered and destroyed by Cromwell for fear that their discovery might elicit sympathy for the doomed queen at court, or worse, among the populace.

Anne's signature, "Anne the quene," via public domain


Until a literary miracle occurs and some ancient strongbox surfaces with more documentation of Anne’s life, history has given the modern biographer only fragments with which to work. Yet, these fragments reveal a remarkable woman, who negotiated discourse to legitimate speech and writing under even the most trying conditions. Perhaps it is fitting to end with her own words: “And if any person will meddle of my cause I require them to judge the best”

Besides Stuart, artists Ann Parker, Kathy Redmond, Shiva Rodriquez, Peggy Nisbet, Liberty of London,  and I have all created portraits of Anne as dolls.  Madame Alexander has done at least two versions, one a Cisette style doll from the TV show The Tudors, and another larger doll, similar to the Alexandra Fairchild fashion doll, that is jointed.  I own the last doll; I keep with her a coin that is from the time of Henry and Catherine Howard, Anne’s Cousin.

Anne Boleyn by Ann Parker, via public domain

Anne Boleyn by Kathy Redmond via Public Domain

Anne Boleyn by Peggy Nisbet, c. 1970, via public domain



Anne Rice has channeled Anne Boleyn in Lasher, and Mollie Hardwick tells her story in Blood Royal.  Evelyn Anthony has written Anne Boleyn, Phillipa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl became a popular film, and Young Adult novels like Doomed Queen Anne abound.  Donizetti did an opera, Anna Bolena, and there is a Spanish wine called Anna de Mil Dias.  Boleyn is also an influence on the work of playwright Adrienne Kennedy. Dorothy Tutin, Merle Oberon, and Genevieve Bujold have portrayed her with sympathy on TV and movie screens.


Via public domain

Anne Boleyn Toby Jug via Royal Doulton and Public Domain, c. 1974
I have a small doll from The Tower of London that represents her as well, and Toby jugs by Royal Doulton.  Of course, there are paper dolls, figurines, jewelry, and lots of other memorabilia created in her name.

Anne Boleyn after Holbein, Wiki Commons, public domain



I hope to do a post on Stuart’s Katharine of Aragon as well. Works cited provided on request, or follow the link to my blog.