Picture of the Week 9

This is the first love token Henry VIII gave to Anne Boleyn, which she kept until her death.  It is a tiny whistle pendant in the form of a pistol, chased with scrolling foliage. It contained cosmetic tools within the barrel (salt spoon, earpick and toothpick) (Henry VIII was known for his hygiene). When Anne gave it to her jailer shortly before her execution she pointed out that the design is of a serpent adding “and thus he (Henry) proved ever unto me”. It’s now kept at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country residence.

Such little trinkets were often sewn onto the king’s masque costumes. They could be given away as gifts, easily lost or even stolen. For example, in September 1510a goldsmith was paid £266 to make new trinkets including small hearts and roses in gold because so many former charms had been stolen or ‘given away at Henry’s pleasure.



Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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