Why was Elizabeth of York’s coronation really delayed….?




Image taken from https://www.thoughtco.com/family-tree-elizabeth-woodville-3528162

The following passage is taken from RITES OF PASSAGE: Cultures of Transition in the Fourteenth Century, edited by Nicola F. McDonald and W. M. Ormrod

“….to become ‘mature’ (in every sense of the word) demanded the achievement of progeny. And this, of course, is what Edward III and Queen Philippa had done – ultimately, indeed, spectacularly so. Their case emphasizes most particularly the point I am making about the birth of children in the coming to power of youthful kings, for it was precisely the public disclosure of Philippa’s first pregnancy in 1330 that created an effective fracture in Queen Isabella’s assumed powers of regency. It was held imperative that Philippa be crowned before she gave birth (an interesting perspective worthy of discussion in its own right); and her elevation to the full rank of crowned and anointed royal consort inevitably raised issues about the basis on which Isabella herself continued to exercise royal power….”

While reading the above paper, it occurred to me that maybe there was a little more to the delay in Elizabeth of York’s coronation than I at first thought. Granted, the quoted passage concerns an earlier century, and a more youthful king and queen, but I couldn’t help thinking of Elizabeth’s case.

We all know that ultimately Henry VII’s marriage was a successful one, and probably happy, but it wasn’t necessarily like that in the beginning. Setting aside all the whispers that the birth of their son Arthur only eight months after the wedding meant the pair had anticipated their vows, and that Henry was simply loath to give Elizabeth the position she warranted at his side in case it diminished his own claim to the throne, might there have been another reason for the delay? They were married on 18 January 1486, their first son was born on 20 September 1486, and Elizabeth’s coronation took place on 25 November 1487, almost two years after the marriage.

What if the names in the quoted passage were changed, and it referred to Henry, Elizabeth and Margaret Beaufort, a lady who most certainly didn’t want to give any ground whatsoever to her daughter-in-law. What if it wasn’t Henry who was loath to fully acknowledge his Yorkist wife, but his strong, influential, bitterly determined mother, who at that time was undoubtedly the most important woman in the realm?

It seemed to take Henry a very long time to finally stand up to Margaret and take his wife’s side. Was he a hen-pecked son, too timid to overrule his formidable mother? Margaret would obviously be pleased that a son would cement her son’s hoped-for dynasty, but might she also be jittery because the baby enhanced Elizabeth’s standing? Maybe the last thing Margaret would want was Elizabeth’s coronation, in case the new queen turned out to be stronger than expected. Margaret thoroughly enjoyed being queen in all but crown.

I’m not an expert on these things, but after reading this exceedingly interesting paper, I have to wonder if Margaret’s spoon was at work in this particular royal soup. After all, she knew all about usurpation.



  1. Aha, always the hand of Margaret at work! Excellent sleuthing…Was Elizabeth pregnant again soon after Arthur (can’t remember) and before November 1487? Might Margaret have wanted to be sure that there were healthy progeny to shore up Henry’s tenuous position? I seem to remember that there was suspicion for a long time that the marriage might not “take” given the past history i.e. daughter and niece of the two previous kings and Elizabeth’s early reluctance. Henry was not anybody’s idea of a manly, good looking and pleasant personality! Ugh. Maybe she found her comfort in her children and her position as mother to an heir; it wouldn’t be the first time that a marriage rooted because of children. But always Margaret just hanging on, hanging on (her whole life)…I always think of Elizabeth as a real heroine and maybe a bullied if not emotionally abused wife.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Occam’s Razor says the simplest explanation that fits all the facts, is most likely to be true. Might it be that Elizabeth was just suffering from morning sickness? I breezed through my pregnancies, but many women do not. I cannot emphasize with them, but I do sympathize, and more than that, I believe them.

    That doesn’t explain the reason for the delay of Elizabeth’s coronation after the birth of Arthur. Of course, she had to recover, and then there were various rebellions to be put down. It may or may not be significant that there were no more children until the birth of Margaaret in Nov. 89 – which doesn’t necessarily mean no more pregnancies.
    Maybe Margaret Beaufort did have something to do with that;, but i don’t think we can say with any certainty.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Viscountessw, as usual you have posted a loaded selection of questions – I’ll throw in a couple details for you –

    – Battle of Stoke ended in disaster (for both sides, H7 really wanted John de la Pole taken alive) in June 1487 … Lovell, as we know, was not captured either, nor found dead, and with other Yorkists still unaccounted for or abroad, it might have been the reason twitchy H7 kept attainted Thomas Howard in the Tower, where he had been since Bosworth, (allegedly refusing to escape and join Lincoln/ Lovell at Stoke) so I’m not surprised MB didn’t allow Eliz of York to have her coronation until the citizenry (especially in London) themselves were grumbling

    – as to her children, and we have to think she was ‘sound’ and basically healthy or MB would have rejected her out of hand and considered Cecily of York, whom she seems to have actually liked (this is the one who was unfortunately married off to John Welles, MB’s half-brother)
    they were – Arthur Sept 1486 and 3 yrs later, Margaret November 1489, then two years later H8 (1491), followed by the short lived Elizabeth (1492-95) who died the same year as Mary was born – and then Edward/Edmund in early 1499 and finally the daughter who died (on the 18th, the 25th anniversary of George duke of Clarence’s execution, oddly enough) and just after Eliz of York herself died on her own birthday 2 Feb 1503 –
    her grandmother Cecily had her last of 12 children at 40 and R3 at age 37 – the spacing of Cecily’s pregnancies was virtually every year, which I find extraordinary considering how much traveling York did for the King, and the relentless stress (if that even approaches an accurate word for it) that they endured their entire lives.

    Eliz of York, and I have avoided any bio’s of her for a variety of reasons, was about 9 or so when the Picquigny Treaty was signed, betrothing her to LXI’s much younger dauphin, but the result would have been in her mind, she would be queen of France, for what? most of her life, until 1483, she believed, knew, expected, to be a Queen, and from what I have read the court and E4, QEW treated her as queen in waiting, la dauphine – and when R3’s diplomatic agents were sent to the court at Portugal it was not to find some 3rd rate half cousin for her; whatever else we know about her, what the country and London knew about her, it was she would be queen, somewhere.

    Personally I think the problem was MB, to think H7 was anything more than a compliant, soberly compliant accessory to HER reign is wishing for unicorns – (I’m not suggesting he was a wafty dimwit), he would have been relieved to have his mother run his admin, she had lived at court thru H6, E4, H6 again, E4 again, R3 – that is during his reign she planned, organized, paid for rebellions, insurrections, and the invasion to put another Beaufort (not Tudor, that’s another loaded conversation) back in power, she wore whatever regalia Eliz. did, designed and decorated the nursery as if it was HER child/heir born in 1486, her counsel (they had been her spies, couriers, co-conspirators in 1483-5) controlled what H did for how many years? Eliz. was kept on a VERY tight budget (heaven forbid she send a shilling to the Yorkists abroad?), so a coronation?

    My own feeling there is MB did not want her to have a coronation at all – that was too official, it was anointed, it was legitimizing, it wouldn’t have nudged her out of the way, she controlled the court, the king, the finances and likely Arthur, it just meant on paper Eliz. – a Yorkist – had been crowned a queen of England. That must have chafed her raw. She likely hoped for something like Stoke to be enough for H to repudiate her, but then what? If nothing else it would be enough to delay, maybe forever, a coronation?

    And this is where the London citizenry, and they were not a small consideration, no small thing, I believe, made it known that H had to do it, had to marry her and had to get that coronation done. London had stood ably up to the Bastard of Fauconberg in 1470-1 (the Guilds all had established protocols for armed watch, aldermen for each ward, protection of the Bridge, etc, and they knew what to do and at the ready – as Lewis has pointed out the idea that Richard and his handful of retainers in the summer of 1483 frightened London is laughable) and MB would certainly know London could and would stand up to H. Bless the ‘little people,” eh?

    Like everything else Viscountessw, it comes down to MB, but sadly unlike you, I can’t imagine being that married to H was ever ‘happy’ (scrawny, nearly toothless before what 35? miserly but overfond of gambling) – then again, we don’t know what her idea of what happy was, do we?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Let’s look at this from another angle: funding. Has it occurred to anyone that Henry simply didn’t have the money? After all, he had the expense of paying off the loans that financed his invasion, then paying for a coronation (which had, for political reasons, to be his alone), then paying for a slap-up wedding – all back-to-back-to-back, and none done on the cheap. And, then the debts he ran up with the insurrections. It was only when he started getting ‘tribute’ from France in 1492, that Henry even broke even.

    Though, as Margaret Beaufort could probably paid for any of these events out of her household funds, she does bear a share of responsibility. I do agree that she was a piece of work, and probably rode rough-shod over her daughter-in-law, son, and everybody she came in contact with, but that does not mean they had no responsibility.

    But Amma, do you really think all any woman needs to be happy is a good-looking husband?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Halfwit36, I agree funding should have been an issue for H – as it most certainly was for E and R most of their reigns, but MB was a conspicuously thorough, capable, and wily businesswoman – if you haven’t read the Jones and Underwood bio of her do so (it IS dry, and “marvelously” reverent of her – to use R’s sly adjective, altho about ‘Jane Shore’) – what one comes away with is a dropped jaw shock that she could squeeze gold angels out of farthings all while appearing a diminutive and pious mama just worried about her poor Henry. Yea.

      Well MB spent a fortune on buying his military force (foreign troops, archers, foot, ships) and what she didn’t have to personally bank roll she was provided for by Anne de Beaujeu, the very young but equally, no, even more ruthless than her father Louis XI, recently deceased (30 August 1483), leaving her to ‘nurture’ her young brother dauphin, now King Charles VIII, she would be ‘regent’ until the ‘affable’ Charles, as he was known, turned 21 in 1491. Whatever I might say about LXI, and I have alot, at least he had wit and charm and some degree of fascinating qualities that manage to override his other and far more insidious tendencies – Anne de Beaujeu, of whom her own father proudly said, “she is the least insane woman in France” (that was meant to be a massive compliment), had NO wit, NO charm, NO delicacy, her determination to rule in her brother’s place ran roughshod over the other members of the royal family and that brought her immediately into what was later called the “Mad War” with her cousin, Louis D’Orleans, about 19 at the time, he would later become Louis XII.

      To prevent that Louis from snatching the throne from her (forget baby brother), Anne threw in with Henry and MB, she would have given MB every last soldier that France had to overthrow R3, recall I think the French feeling about him. Whether or not R would have led any invasion against France in 1485, after knocking off H I can’t say, but I can’t discount it either. One doesn’t align oneself with the royal house of Portugal 0 and their assets, especially the navy – and not have designs of retribution against Anne de Beaujeu!

      SO, did H have the funds? Absolutely, but that was likely left to MB, as in how to handle the nobility, the peerage, somewhere I read, and I apologize that I don’t have the link for you, but something like of the 62 peerage families during H’s reign 46 were bound by obligations, recognizances, bonds, (7 under attainder) actually only 16 directly connected to himself and MB were left alone … that’s alot of money paid directly to H just to prove you would be a good boy (and not send any of those funds to errant Yorkists, like your mom had been doing with errant Lancastrians!)

      As to what he would need for his own Coronation, likely E4’s Great Wardrobe had more than enough to be used – as R3 did for his own, with some modifications – mostly get those skinners at work double time! They had the surplus on hand at all times, it was not unusual to repurpose the skins for new garments, even the high and mighty did so, like H4, or R3!

      There are some things about H I will defend, I do not give any credence that he had an illegitimate daughter (?) or is it a son? And the the situation that left him an exile, where he was uncomfortable speaking English, he used French for confession and I believe most ‘business’ could only have been another barrier between himself and ‘his’ people, as much as the young woman his mother very likely had the greatest suspicious about – what might have made the marriage succeed at all is that Eliz. of York was perhaps more like her aunt Eliz. duchess of Suffolk, and not her own mother – I often make note of the unhappy reality that R lived hi entire life amid an active civil war and that had to have left open never-to-close scars, well, Eliz. of York lived in that same civil war, and we know less about her than we do Richard.

      As to your question Halfwit, well, what is that saying, ‘looks don’t last’? Indeed, unless you are Dorian Gray 🙂 and Eliz. of York may well have remembered her once fabulous father, turned rotund and living on emetics after every feast. For myself, personality has always been the key, and I am ashamed to say, I would have found LXI utterly fascinating, of course, I would have been very careful not to eat or drink around him, well, I suppose I could become one of those famous poison-eaters we read about – and then I would have some measure of safety – but yes, LXI was the very opposite of tall, golden, athletic, beautiful E4, but if given my druthers, I’d rather spar wits with Louis (he had been the equal to E’s womanizing, although he never poisoned any of his mistresses, just his father’s) … not sure that answers your question… in modern day references I find, still find, Steve McQueen or Ret. Lt. Gen, Allen West quite something …

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, Henry 7 died a very rich man, with a lot of ‘accounts receivable’ in the form of bonds & recognizances (sp?) but none of that was available to him as an exile in France. I sometimes wonder what he had to do to get Anne de B. to part with the money and troops he needed for his invasion. But that’s my fevered imagination.

    To be sure, a lot of things necessary for the coronation were there, in storage, and could be reused. But he had to throw a first-class banquet too. And we don’t know how much was left in any account at the end of Richard’s reign, or at the beginning of it either. I read somewhere that, of all the kings between the Conquest and George III, only Edward IV and Henry VII left anything but debts to their heirs.

    The bonds were very much ‘accts. rec.’ Henry could not collect on them as long as his subjects remained ‘good boys.’ My point is this: maybe his credit was good, but what he did not have in the first years of his reign was a source of ready cash.

    Possibly Elizabeth of York did compare Henry unfavorably to her father. But how much memory did she have of him as a handsome young man? When did he start getting fat? Maybe he later memories were of a fat slob, and at least Henry remained slim all his life. In any case, Elizabeth took the marriage vows seriously – she had no choice. And this cuts both ways. I wasn’t the same person at 35 as I was at 18 – a better person maybe, but not better-looking, but my husband was not shallow enough to shuck me off for that reason.

    Interesting examples you give. I do think Gen. West is a handsome man, probably better-looking now than when he was 20. Steve MacQueen? Ehh. And Louis XI? Gag! Still, tastes differ.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Halfwit36, I am loving this!

      We have at least three streams going here, one being what exactly did H have available (fungible liquid assets! who knows what its called) well, smart mama and H declared himself King the day BEFORE Bosworth, and as such he attainted everyone with anything worth taking as soon as the dust cleared on the 22nd.

      That left H with alot of liquid assets to dole out to newly acquired supporters and those dear lambs who followed him from exile – like Oxford who overnight became the largest land owner in East Anglia (Thomas Howard off to the Tower, he eventually regained the title of earldom of Surrey but never regained the dukedom that R gave his father). Indeed, H NEVER made his saviour, Oxford, a duke. And William Stanley, who likely felt he should have been rewarded with such, (at the least!) for the rear attack on R at Bosworth, received less than any of those who gave H his victory – in H’s defense I would have thrown Stanley in the Tower myself, and had him executed for treason, against R! After all, how do you trust a king’s man who kills his king, and from behind? Thomas Stanley, the trimmer brother extraordinaire, and married to MB, did get an earldom from the new king, and again, note, NOT a dukedom. Uncle Jasper, yes, I beleive he alone achieved that straightaway, and given marital custody of the all important Catherine Wydville, mother to two male heirs of Henry 2nd duke of Buckingham (immediately handed off to MB) – no way was H or MB going to allow Buckingham’s widow to marry and have more possibly Yorkist claimants! SO she was handled properly.

      Then there are fees and fines, licenses for all manner of every blessed thing imaginable, for marriages, coming into one’s inheritance, (doing either without the king’s license, heaven forbid!) initially H’s fees were quite reasonable, around 350 pounds or so in 1486, by 1509 it would be over 6000 pounds for such licenses and or fines – both Catherine Wydville and her son, heir, Edward 3rd duke of B would pay massively excessive fines for their infractions against H (both in excess of 8000 pounds!)

      As to banqueting, you are likely correct that H may well have relied on ‘credit’ – lol – my area is actually Italian ‘High Renaissance’ and if there is one thing that one immediately learns is NO one of quality, ie nobility, aristocracy, royalty, etc, pays their bills any time soon, IF ever. The reason Michelangelo finished SO few of his contractual works if that the moment the contracted payments petered out, just stopped (patrons do tend to be fickle and find new projects) Michelangelo shelved their works and he too moved on … very fortunate in a strange way for us as we get to see his works in progress. This ‘maybe they’ll pay’ attitude continued among our betters for centuries – what I find so striking in Richard’s numerous “would you loan me …” notes to various people (like Lord Say in 1469 or the debts he ran up in Holland 1470) is that he had every intention of repaying and did repay his debts!!!!!! absolutely shocking, to me.

      But H need not have sweated this, London merchants and the mayor and aldermen were quite savvy – in fact the mayors and aldermen usually traded off year after year who would be mayor, it was something of an old boys club, (in 1485, I think it was two different grocers, Warde then Bryce, elections held in October of every year, followed by the very influential Sir Henry Colet, mercer, if you haven’t read Sylvia Thrupp’s Merchant Class of Medieval London, 1948, do so, it will completely change your understanding of London’s power and the Lord Mayor of London – its not an exaggeration to say he was in London the equal if not greater than the king!)

      Ah I keep thinking of Mel Brooks’ line, “It’s good to be king!” well, that likely meant alot as H – or MB, planned the banquet, attainders meant ready titles, properties, offices, appointments and lands to hand out, cash coming in from wards’s under his dominion (the holder of wards collected all monies their estates provided until they reached majority or purchased their rights to their inheritance) –

      Now, Anne de Beaujeu … this gets into the very ugly family politics of French nobility – and it was nasty, fraught with hatred that makes English nobility look like a Disney movie by comparison. IF LXI did indeed decide he had to find some way to eliminate E4, by poison or any other means of assassination, then it was to create a parallel state of utter discord and conflict equal or surpassing what he damn well knew was coming upon his own imminent death – he had been cheating death for at least 2 or 3 years – having had what we might call episodes, strokes? apoplexy? whatever they were they were debilitating and critical and so shocking to LXI that the first time it happened every servant etc who witnessed it, and it was a protracted event, was ‘removed’ as in permanently – eventually his fear was not from what E4 would do, he owned E4 via the pension, Charles the Rash (or Brash lol) was dead, he had regained several chunks of ‘French’ turf when he snatched the very young Margaret of Austria from Maximilian when he simultaneously rejected Eliz. of York from the dauphin sweepstakes – no, LXI feared his own counselors seeing his rapidly declining physical state and assuming it meant his mental state was also failing – he barricaded himself in his favorite castle, turning it literally into a prison, out of fear from assassination from his own advisors.

      Anne de Beaujeu and her much older husband were among the few members of his court allowed to see him, and Anne would know what her father most feared: her cousin grabbing the regency from her and heaven forbid undoing all LXI’s plans, maybe even marrying Eliz of York himself! ye gods. Louis d’Orleans was all of 19, dashing, and filled with total hatred for Anne de Beaujeu and LXI – he had been forced to marry Anne’s sister, Jeanne, thought to be sterile and apparently lame – a hideous affront, as d’Orleans saw it, an intentional termination of the d’Orleans line by LXI and a wife so physically hideous in his eyes he refused to be with her – (their later divorce/annulment was the stuff of pornhub let me tell you)

      On top of that his grandfather, the king’s brother, and another Louis, had been brutally, openly murdered in the streets of Paris, 1407, on orders of Jean sans Peur (duke of Burgundy, grandfather of our Charles the Bold) … of course this duke met the same fate, on the bridge at Montereau 1419, where the Dauphin (soon to be Charles VII, our LXI’s own father) met with his uncle for peace negotiations, and his companions cut down Jean sans Peur (John the Fearless) … and so it goes, his heir is known as Philip the Good (with the 2 dozen royal bastards hmmm) and our Charles the Bold. But relations between the two royal houses of France were permanently ruptured – Burgundy sided with the English throughout the 15thc, they were wildly prosperous, the very epitome of culture, their painters used oil decades before Leonardo reinvented the medium, commerce and trade left “France” or what was left of France under Charles VII a pathetic joke … well.

      In the years since LXI came to the throne, 1461, along with E4, he dragged the misery of France from what it was but the damage between the rival family – Burgundy – never healed, LXI would have accepted nothing but complete domination of that House, along with Brittany and every other province LXI considered ‘his.’ And his daughter was groomed to make that happen NOT Louis d’Orleans – and if she had to throw a wrench into English politics to keep them stumbling and in civil war so much the better! That stupid pronouncement that de Rochefort made in Jan 1484 before the Estates – in Latin – with wild condemnation of R and all English kings with their history of murdering each other – was created to offset what was coming IN France – a dire reminder of what could engulf them IF they behaved like the English! Much of it was likely taken from the Mancini ‘report’ – written by Cato’s agents that fall 1483, from material brought back by Mancini, (I could go on and on and on about Mancini) – but it did not have the effect they wanted – virtually every important nobleman, even Commynes! will join Louis d’Orleans by 1486 to overthrow Anne de Beaujeu, the dates are often given as 1489, but the storm was coming as early as 1485, and LXI knew it.

      about Eliz of York, today we recognize post-traumatic syndrome… if ever someone should have had that it would be this poor young lady. Unless she was resilient almost beyond my comprehension, an aunt (QAN) she appears to like dies, young, just like her sister Isabel Neville, both brothers (alive somewhere?) or if not she would know and then … grieving, shocked, horrified, it’s just the way life is? An uncle Anthony, possibly caught in a plot (maybe not even one he designed, just caught up in?) and executed? a half brother (foolish Dorset) well he’s taken off, abandoned the family, ok, and maybe you saw your father often, likely you didn’t, and then uncle Richard … so now you’re a bastard, but treated with deference, at court, plans for a very decent marriage with the royal house of Portugal, ok…. is it any wonder I can’t get a ‘read’ on this young lady? So having said that I will leave it as ‘undecided’ – the less speculation by me the better, for whatever reason(s) H did not press her to identify Warbeck, and ‘out’ him, or involve her in any other matters of a political nature and that may have been a kindness I can’t condemn him for now.

      Halfwit, looks are, in the ‘modern world’ completely meaningless 🙂 as they can be altered, via any number of ways … my ex used to say, after seeing the family photo’s from some birthday or holiday dinner, “I can fix that” meaning photo-shopping out the mother-in-law, or the person with their eyes closed or the otherwise perfect shot marred by some butt smack to one side … never trust any photo you see! Photoshop for one … I have been with some one these last years who actually does look like Allen West lol so maybe that is why I thought of him?! I’m not sure what Lt Gen West looked like as a young man but when he is discussing a point it’s his sharp grasp of the issues that I’m attracted to, and his killer sense of humour. He also has that smile; West was born in Atlanta, and my Reggie in the hills of NC, I spent most of my childhood in DC back when it really was a southern city; we lapse into our ‘suthenspeak’ without realizing it – which is a good thing as I’m in the arts and he is a pilot and physics guy, we have NOTHING in common!

      “Pretty” men do not seem to age well, maybe that’s why Steve McQueen appeals to me, he was never pretty, I was a kid when the Great Escape came out so I didn’t see it until I was in college, my mom and sister are Paul Newman types and here I’m saying “McQueen! ok, a little grungy, but don’t mess with him!” What do they say now, ‘strong is the new pretty’?? always has been for me, strong in your convictions! maybe that’s what appeals to me about Richard!

      poor LXI, so unloved. Halfwit, is there no place for the witty man, even if he has some rough edges and um, rather lumpy dumpy and dresses like a yeoman on a 3 day binge? look at mel brooks, adorable! but not pretty …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ok ok i’m too excited, should read LXI knew in 1483, not 1485 what was coming … I bad (“Lewis” lol died 30 August 1483 … I so wish he and R had had time to spar with each other!)

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Dear Halfwit36, well, if you put down Edward G and Paul Muni on the table I raise you my all time fave, Jimmy Cagney!

      I will concede that just maybe H (this is VERY hard for me btw) was pressed for ready cash at least the first couple months, although not MB – never! And that ingrate, oh, sorry, the ‘new king,’ kicked the Heralds from their manor of Coldharbour (facing the river, near Dowgate), granted to them by R to give to his mother. Really? She needed it why????

      As to ‘our betters’ and their absolute refusal to pay bills, oh please (I will explain) … and it can only be the fault of Jeanne la Pucelle (Joan of Arc) – who I’ve been obsessed with since childhood – she lead armies! She stormed castles! She managed to convince a pathetic worm stand up long enough to be crowned king! And then sadly, betrayed, and burned! To a 8 or 9 year old little girl in sweltering DC (no one had AC anywhere in those days) she fired my imagination and a francophile was born! Mon Dieu … All my favorite artists, writers, poets, all French! Even a few musicians, born elsewhere, did their best work in France (allo gentil monsieur Chopin! ou, petit Amadeus!) French history right through grad school! Masters diss was on Ingres’ gorgeous La Grande Odalisque (a very naughty, very political painting btw) – unfortunately it also meant 3 years of research on all things Napoleon … sigh… I seriously think Richard would not approve of me at all!

      BUT! I entirely understand his well placed disgust at Picquigny in 1475, and that letter that he wrote to LXI, oh, it’s pure SNARK, as you would call it, that man was delicious! I so so so regret R did not get his full two years to confound LXI, and he would have, “Lewis” realized long before he got that “F. U. ” letter (August 1483) from R that this one was nothing like George or Edward.

      In fact, read that letter, he literally spells it out that he IS coming for France, for retribution, as soon as all the treaties Edward made with him expire (mostly by early 1484) … that might have been all Anne de Beaujeu needed to see, now that I think of it, to throw everything she had, from propaganda to mercenaries to ships and actual ‘cash’ to HT … imagine, though, IF he had married Joanna of Portugal … with their navy, his sister duchess Margaret and the emperor Maximilian in the Low Countries, and very savvy ‘intelligence’ agents/merchants like Spynell and Brampton who knew their way all along the coast from Holland through Gibraltar? oh my, and then throw in …

      Louis d’Orleans, the nephew/cousin of vipers! – ah, well, he was likely one himself. Anne de Beaujeu had the ‘deep state’ – as we would call them today – but her young cousin had all the other dukes and family members who had been ridden roughshod over by daddy for years, they backed him because LXI’s vision for France was to gobble up all of their quasi-independent provinces, territories, etc, and nationalize it into one big bag of goodies for whomever was king.

      I would never defend the young d’ Orleans, it was simply cousin vs cousin and d’ Orleans had the moral high ground as the ‘offended’ party, descended from a butchered line – one that LXI most definitely wanted exterminated using (how cruel is this?!) a daughter he believed to be sterile! Btw, this is the SAME daughter he was interested in seeing marry Richard! well, it was around mid 1460’s, when he would have been just as happy to cut off another Yorkist branch if he could.

      The more I think on this the more I decide Anne de Beaujeu did get prepped by LXI as to R, who was clearly in control by late May or June – depends on when we guestimate how quickly LXI’s army of implanted spies get info back to him – in those days – meaning up until our present day of modern surveillance, ‘spies’ in R’s day meant diplomats, priests, scholars, ‘poets’, merchants, the housewife at the market, minstrels, etc, the use of military was to be expected as scouts, couriers etc – as late as Napoleon the SAME individuals were spies, and for that reason he had every letter, every piece of mail opened and searched throughout the “Empire” – you paid to have your letters privately carried and then you destroyed them upon receipt! And that included his own family – of course, the idea of ‘mail’ delivery across Europe was handled by a specific service in R’s day, based in Italy, highly influential, prosperous, and just as prone to being surveilled – the Italians were decades ahead of the English, no, make that prob a 100 years ahead of the English, in regard to codes and use of them for sensitive matter – Warbeck employed them against H7, having access to Continental niceties like proper coding – but H7 had a army of spies and informers and spent a freakin fortune on them – we know because he left books filled in his own hand detailing what he spent and on whom and where and for what purpose!!!!! Good grief!

      quick note, the uber wealthy today have tax lawyers, managers, investment and accountants to insure they pay as little as possible and IF they do it’s because they’re ‘donating’ to x,y,z cause and get a nifty write-off – the next tier of wealth down prob overpay their taxes because they don’t have friends in the right places to get one of those ‘Get out of Jail Free’ cards – then there are types like me that just pay whatever they tell me to pay (daughter is an accountant). BUT up until say WW1 the landed gentry, the well-born or ‘gently born’ – our betters, the very idea of paying that tradesman, that artist, that merchant, when the bill is SENT??? seriously? how bourgeois, how crass, how utterly … well, just how … well ..

      eventually the bills WOULD need to be paid; it might take centuries, I am NOT exaggerating, but eventually bills would need to be paid when ‘credit’ gave out. Which is why landed heirs to fabulous estates and titles would marry their daughters off to … gasp … the trade, merchants. Industrial tycoons, the railroad wizards, and worse, eventually to … Americans. Poor Winston Churchill’s father (I’m being sarcastic) own father was reduced to marrying for … money.

      So eventually, by the late 1700’s and through the 1800’s, vast estates went begging for the right kind of money to prop them up …it is curious to me that of all the landed families I think only a few have survived, and those that do rent out their grounds to film studios, open up parks, etc, Alnick up in Northumberland for example, did you ever think the Percy’s would have been able to hang in there when generation after generation went down to attainder and execution!?

      (Hotspur was on Richard’s side, well, if you think about it, it was Richard’s Mortimer side – Hotspur was married to one and her brother was the one they wanted to put on the throne and knock H4 off of it … it was the shock of my life when I first started a genealogy for R … that man was literally related to everyone, to everyone!)

      hmm, what did I forget? Oh was it right for d’ Orleans to divorce his lame wife? ahh, well, the Church did make her a saint, curiously enough – and maybe for being married to this viper? Ok, j/k, there is a ‘charming’ counter theory about Louis, that he was passionately in love with the young Anne of Brittany (oh who wasn’t?????) she was the heiress sweepstakes after Mary of Burgundy, came with an entire province, celtic to the bone, not that she spoke Breton, anymore than H7 could relate to the English he ruled over, it’s the power and prestige of having a whole province to oneself!

      When Anne de Beaujeu decided (for LXI this was always part of the plan) to ditch young Margaret of Austria (who was the reason Eliz. of York was ditched) it was because they wanted to grab Brittany, and once Francis II of Brittany died they seized his daughter, Anne, who quite unwillingly showed up with a separate bed, indicating she may be married to Charles VIII but it wasn’t going to be a happy one – nonetheless they had several children, I don’t believe any of them survived even early childhood and Charles himself died quite young …. ahhnd now the viper wants his only love, he’s waited, he’s now King! He’s LXII and finally, they can reveal their passionate secret love … or so the stories went – since his grandfather was the lover of his brother’s queen, who knows? … well, let’s just assume Anne of Brittany, who we do know was very intelligent and cultured, resisted those passionate looks. And the viper was still married. TO her dead husband’s auntie. Don’t you love French history?!

      So that is why he had to unload Jeanne – but he needed an annulment not a divorce per se – so, DID he ever have relations with her? Personally I doubt it, he had to be physically forced to even visit her in her manor – under threat of what LXI would do to him if he continued to avoid her, he had mistresses (as did all well born French men of means!) And LXI had iron cages suspended from his ceiling at one of his castles for his prisoners, that way they couldn’t escape at night, and he enjoyed interrogating them during the day. (Btw, E4 and H7 also interrogated their prisoners).

      As to what Jeanne revealed in testimony about her husband’s physical attributes and prowess, well, Jeanne may have been a saint but she was also brought up at the court of the “Universal Spider” (as Duke Charles called him) – and the man had mistresses, either she or her father would have had spies everywhere, and LXI himself likely kept tabs on his son-in-law’s activities, in detail, for whatever purpose he would need them for (a cudgel to force the man to just go see his wife, make it look like he’s been there for crying out loud!) that sort of file.

      Since I don’t (yet) need any of this for my project on R I haven’t read the divorce proceedings (just the ‘scholarly’ cliff notes) about Louis XII and wife 1, but wife 2 didn’t do much better, by the time this Heathcliff of France got his Anne of Brittany he’s not exactly the dashing 19 yr old who was ready to overthrow Anne de Beaujeu anymore. I believe they had the same misfortunes with infants and perhaps one daughter survived?

      I don’t even know where I’m going with all this … Paul Muni, actually he was an unusually fine looking man. Playing against type works too, maybe that’s why I don’t ‘get it’ with Van Johnson or Robert Taylor (I’m trying to recall my mom’s teen crushes, Van Johnson? Oh, she adored Fred Astaire too! Looked just like her dad, prob better to leave that one right there)…

      But James Cagney, now he had it all!

      (I apologize for my odd lapses, I’m self-employed, 4 grandsons and a part time job, and with the quarantine, 3 months in now, I’m never sure what day or even what week I’m in, for some reason I keep thinking this is March…)

      and your Ricardian Bulletin comment, awesome!!!! I’ve read that his concern for the Commons in his (only) Parliament is what did him in, not enough goodies for the titled class; yea, well, if you give them everything, like he did Bucky, only thing left for Bucky was the crown , and apparently that little bird did tweet in his noxious ear …

      so happy someone remembers Paul Muni! how do you feel about John Garfield??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a suggestion. Since you are doing a ‘project’ on Richard, why not let your research work for two projects – R and French history of the late 15th century. Or R and Louis XI? A twofer – you couldn’t lose. BTW, is your project going to be fiction or non-fiction? In any case put me down for a copy!

        I think I have read somewhere on this very blog that Henry 7 attained a total of 7 peers after Bosworth, and the spoils gained that way were mainly used to reward his supporters (Mommy, Uncle Jasper, the Frenchman de Chanude) – not that they deserved it, or needed it, but simply because he felt obligated to them.

        Pretty sure you don’t think it was a good thing for aristocrats to defraud or stiff their creditors, but you seem to be excusing it because it was SRO at the time, and for long afterwards. Yet you fault H 7 for paying his creditors, and writing it down in a little book. I confess – that is a trait I admire because I DON’T have it myself!

        Yes, John Garfield, I agree. Only his career was tragically cut short. And Cagney was an all-rounder, an excellent actor and also a song-and-dance man. But both he and Edward G. Robinson could have got by just ‘mailing in’ their performances, and I think sometimes did. Always glad to contact another old-movie freak!

        I am self-unemployed (i.e. retired) and under durance vile. Dang it I have been an adult for a long while, I want to be treated like one, not a 10-year-old.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. An afterthought: Maybe Elizabeth of York had mother-in-law problems. But so did Henry. Means they had something in common for pillow talk!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Halfwit,

      Two projects eh? lol, funny you should mention that duo – one area that has been front and center for me for over a year is that of espionage, specifically that occurring during the WoTR (I have a very elastic timeline for the War, I mean no disrespect to R2, but imagine if none of the Beauforts had been legitimized, if R2 had not given in to uncle John – prob to annoy cousin Bolingbroke – well, I doubt Gaunt would have managed to get the Pope to go along with legitimizing his children from an adulterous relationship, certainly not before his own death in early 1399 – no Beauforts? NO WoTR…

      But if we have to have them then I conclude the War with the death of Elizabeth I, when there was no one left – the Crown goes to the Scots (Edward 1 musing that one!) as the Tudors had successfully eradicated their entire family – even if you did everything they wanted, played their game, married whomever they told you to marry, no, the DNA was permanent. And so this so fragile, and infertile ‘dynasty’ 118 years later is handed over to the Scots … but that’s just me.

      SOooooo, about 15 months ago I decided to look into why we don’t know about E4’s spies, and R’s spies, we know they had them, we read about them in the ‘abstract’ – in a military sense they were the fore-riders, scouts, couriers, and then in ‘peace’ and in war, most definitely the diplomats and merchants – it was driving me crazy that I have plenty of names for MB’s spies, her team of very able co-conspirators – but none for Edward, or Richard? Not acceptable! Then, as the research went on it improved, (I’m relentless) to the point where I had enough to do … something.

      But one must involve my dear friend, LXI, he cannot be ignored, cannot be discounted, he is the pivot around which Margaret of York’s life spun, E4’s world (pretending otherwise did him no favors) and by extension Richard’s – however, I chose a narrow time slot to concentrate on, my key questions are roughly E4’s last Parliament (Jan – Feb 1483) through to at least late August 1483 – originally I wanted to take the project through the Oct/Nov ’83 rebellion but this will be visual, a graphic novel, and not a ‘manga’ (lord help me).

      I’m an academic, but I have no desire to do an ‘academic’ treatment of R’s pivotal months in the spring/summer 1483, I could but I’m too visual to leave it at that, when I did my MA diss I had to draw dozens of explanatory plates for every major point about the painting I chose because 1) art historians by and large are NOT artists, they come from other disciplines like English, Philosophy, etc, and 2) unless you are a (classical) painting major even other artists do not ‘understand’ the points being made as to what Ingres did with his source material etc – much easier to simply flesh out (draw) the the specific influences – same thing here. Originally I wanted to run it all the way thru HS2dB’s execution, with Part II being to Bosworth, Part III to Stoke, Part IV you follow where I am going… turns out I have wayyyy too much going on, that WE DO KNOW just in June-August as per conspiracies, that Bucky may have to wait, we’ll see, depends on how I divide up the illustrations? If you are familiar with Holbein then that is the ‘style’ I prefer, I am not keen an ‘panels’ per se but this could become inside baseball very quickly so …

      Yes, in a sense it is ‘fictional’ as ‘we’ don’t know who R or E4’s spies were, or IF they even had anything resembling a network like MB’s – which of course was massively enlarged for H’s reign – but I know what LXI had, but I also know ricardians, and the need to do justice to them – unlike too many of the professional historian class, ricardians do their HW, they know their stuff, I cannot go running roughshod over what we actually do know – hence a character had to be created to act as ‘our’ means by which the burning issues we have always wanted addressed actually get addressed in a pragmatic, least BBC manner!

      One of the posters here at MurreyandBlue refers to all the nonlinear information about R that is becoming the big new avenue of discussion for his era and for his own life – indeed – the same could be said about the genre known as the ‘graphic novel’ – as I tell students it IS the only 2D format, aside from electronic (film/digital etc), that exists as viable and legitimate, ‘painting’ as we KNEW it in the Titian, Kahlo, even Hockney sense of the medium simply doesn’t exist – it may be done but why? Anyway, the ‘graphic novel’ can be anything the visual artist desires, usually a small army creates it, and I’m sure that is done on computers, oh dear.

      Every frame is being done by hand, I cannot imagine anyone else doing my lettering, formatting, and I prefer B&W, ‘today’s color is so saturated as to be ‘hyper’ – and it is ubiquitous, the shocker, when used in advertising or other visual forms, is B&W, it literally jumps off the page, I adore B&W, and I know a million ways to make it sing and sting – however, it won’t look like the panel cartoons one sees in Spiderman – I’ll leave that to others – this must be entirely suitable to the material and to the story – I actually have too much material at this point, and it is possible to get a feel for Richard as we do have several of his letters, some thankfully in his own hand.

      The craziest thing about this project is that I have been forced to decide exactly what I do think happened, at Northampton, with Hastings, with E4’s death – the obvious ones there, but one irritating detail continues to elude me, I know I will find it, I have since discovered the names/backgrounds of men R sent to show proofs to Hastings’ brother, I have found documentary proof of the spy I have been trolling for so I know the guy did exist and the docs match up with R, and under duress for H (too long to go into here; that is in Part III) I have more than I know what to do with for LXI and how to integrate him meaningfully, but still … Richard, I ask him every day, while drawing, what was it, what did you know, beyond the Talbot marriage (which he likely knew about, or something like it) that made this rupture so irrevocable that you couldn’t just look the other way, just go back to Middleham and hope they forgot you existed – I twist in the wind with this one, but I will find it, it’s what I love about ricardians posting their ideas, everyone has bits and thoughts outside my research bubble, and as I said, ricardians do their HW 🙂

      sorry Halfwit, this could be wayyyy more than you wanted to know 😦

      as to the Battle of which mother-in-law was worse, lol, definitely MB, no question, exQEW was powerless, likely had little to no influence on her daughter, beyond the normal advice-to-my dear daughter on her marriage to our hero and saviour sort of speech – MB had the power, the experience, she had the spies and network of these spies and had been at court since the 1450’s, been married at least 3 times in a meaningful sense, understood both domestic and continental politics, had physical possession (hostages) of all of the York daughters, and most importantly, Edward of Warwick, BOTH heirs of HS2dB, any chance of other Stafford heirs happening was precluded by Jasper’s ‘marriage’ to HS2dB’s wife, QEW’s much younger sister. It is highly unlikely that H had any clue what to do or how to do anything in August 1483 through at least the following year or more – which is why Morton, Bray, Urswick, et al kept him afloat – MB may have been the ‘face’ of the government but the men she used to get H the throne were the ones needed to keep him there

      where H did sweat it, and I might just ‘feel’ for him here, is that with QEW he seriously would NOT ever know what SHE knew, would he? About E4’s death, or George’s death, or even Lady Eleanor (or any others), or the Earl of Desmond that has recently been posted by Sparkypus, or about any plans to insure uncle Richard met with an ‘accident’ before or at Northampton – or even the Hastings plot (I suspect he was the ‘fall guy’ in this one) – and worse, H very likely never felt comfortable enough to broach any of these subjects with own wife – it was an impossible position to put her in, and for himself to be in – I have wondered why on earth he spent such a fortune on some truly from-the-dredges types as spies, I no longer think that – imagine if he exposed Eliz. to Warbeck and even the barest glimmer of recognition flickered? … so, it was never to happen. That alone speaks volumes.

      those little books H kept his payments in, lol, were for receipts he kept on the informers, spies, that he paid, one does pay the spies … I suspect he overpaid most of them and got ZIP back in respect to the exorbitant fees he paid out – when Warbeck was betrayed it came from within, and of course, from a Clifford, arguments still run from ‘was he a double spy, a plant’ for H from the start? – or – did he truly support Warbeck then only turn when he quaked at the thought of being exposed and the inevitable reality of the rack?

      H so completely ruined Warbeck, entire cells surrounding Warbeck (even including the one around Cecily Neville, duchess York), beyond H’s wildest dreams, including the use of certain physical tokens, the technically superior codes for messages, exposing upper nobility who H thought loved him, uh huh, well, for myself, and the man being a Clifford, I side with his being planted or very quickly turned as a double by H’s peripheral agents who shadowed and swarmed Warbeck – and possibly an unpopular position, I side with Warbeck being the younger son, Richard of Shrewsbury.

      Brampton was a long standing agent (and knighted by) for R, and at times for E4, but especially trusted by R … whatever lame story they needed to tell in public (the bad uncle Richard!) was to protect, my guess, Eliz. of York and her sisters, very likely R’s own sisters and mother as well. Remember, H would have his prisoners hung from London Bridge (after God knows what torture) and wait for the river’s tide to finish them off … the sweetheart.

      I’m sure you know who William Powell is, sigh, about the total opposite of ‘attractive’ I guess if McQueen is one point on the chart, but Myrna Loy in their Thin Man films transforms him to utterly adorable – I might even consider allowing Asta into my art room!


      1. Sign me up for the first copy Beth, sounds awesome!! Actually, give me two because my brother loves graphic novels and maybe I can turn him into a Ricardian with your help lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, a whole lot I know about French history that I didn’t before, and for that I thank you.

    Yes, H 7 did attainder Yorkist supporters. That meant they could not inherit or use their family titles & live in their family castles. Doesn’t mean that he could raid their jewel coffers or get ahold of any monies they had with Italian bankers. If they tried to bring the money into the country, maybe…

    I am pretty sure that you are not advocating that the rich should stiff their debtors, or that the rich should not pay their share of taxes, fees, fines, etc Yet your logic, carried to the extreme, would tend to support that. *

    ‘Looks are, in the modern world, completely meaningless, as they can be altered..’ and go on to prove it by admiration for Steve MacQueen and LXI. Does that mean that looks were meaningful for our 15th c ancestors? And that Orleans (later LXII) was justified in divorcing a lame, ugly princess?

    I was not Southern-born, but I have lived there long enough to b e fluent in Southernspeak (My 3rd language is Snark.) , so I take your meaning. I don’t know what Gen West looked like at 20, just judging on the principle that some people improve with a little maturity. MacQueen – yeah, he never was pretty. But then there was Paul Muni, who was a classically handsome man – ‘pretty’ even – and could have been very successful as an actor just on his looks alone. But he never tried to ‘slide by’ that way. I can also think of some actors (e.g. E.G. Robinson) who sometimes played to type, sometimes against type, and sometimes made fun of their ‘type,’ the type, of course, being gangster.

    *I once wrote, in the Ricardian Bulletin, the following little verse: “Henry’s soak-the-rich policy/ Made him the first liberal, you see./ Richard, his opposite in great and small ways/ Would vote conservative always.”

    ….tongue very much in cheek!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dear Elizabeth, sorry for getting back to you so late, I saw your reply post just as I thought I would read all the back posts here at MurreyandBlue, well, that was 3 hours ago and I only managed to get through 2014 and 2015! What a wonderful blog! I ended up making notes, from both posted articles and replies, such a wealth of opinions and material! It’s like discovering a bit of heaven, and it’s been there all along 🙂

    here’s a question for your brother, the graphic novel devotee, at our local Barnes & Noble I peruse that section quite often and the sheer variety of visual difference in style, how a ‘narrative/story/event/environment’ is told and conveyed is mindblowing, very exciting – but nothing – from what I have seen yet, ‘historical’ in the vein I am doing – there actually was a ‘medieval’ graphic novel series on the English mercenary, condottiere John Hawkwood, (linear treatment was ‘fine’ in terms of draftsmanship, proportions, angle of view, good pacing, but, faces were straight out of Dragon Ball Z … it was a jarring contrast, sort of like Dave Chapelle on stage singing Wagnerian opera) – the material that BN carries crosses all conceivable artistic preferences, some is just stunning artwork, it’s almost to the point where I really could care less what the ‘story’ is about it’s that good.

    The question for your brother, what decides his selection, experimental visuals? unusual story line? favored authors/ characters/ reliable ‘product’ ? ( If I sound like I work in advertising and promotion its because I did as a freelance illustrator before I switched to teaching). I bring home all sorts of graphic novels for my son and son-in-law to ‘try’ – that I find particularly stunning – and I get looks. My son has told me there had better be alot of action in this thing … ah, well, if he only knew…!

    Thanks for any input! (I have a new class beginning late August but I teach military, mostly AF students, and I already know if I screw up any ‘fight’ scenes I WILL hear about it), in my fall 2019 class – let’s not talk about this spring semester – they were part of the original ‘brainstorming’ process 🙂


    1. Hi Beth, no worries. I emailed you a few days ago but I think I used the wrong address (don’t ask…I’d forget my head if it wasn’t attached to my neck lately). Anyhow, I know he started out with comic books when we were kids…and I know the first graphic novel he picked up was “Watchmen” by Alan Moore (because he made me read it too lol)….but other than that, I’m not sure what influences his choices…I’ll ask him for you though and get back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi EB!

        I’m running in circles myself, spent all day making doctor/dental appts to replace the ones that have been canceled over the last 3+ months!

        let’s try this again, I can send material to you via email as well, I have been working on some prototype drawings of Richard (not as smooth as I expected, def the ONE who has be done right), I have no idea how to post anything here, visual that is – once you actually have to work out HOW he appeared, using the documentation from the surviving portraits, well, several things popped up! he had the sweetest little overbite! it’s adorable! In some portraits – like that odious one at the Brit Library (or is it in the Queen’s Royal Collection? very heavily over painted! clenched mouth, squinty eyes, paint slathered on! hawk like nose, egad) well, all the others, like the very familiar one at NPG, or even the “Arched” portrait at the Antiquaries Society Hall (I’m not fond of that one, the copist gave him a bulbous nose!) but everything else conforms – the high cheekbones, deep sockets for his eyes, that chin! and fine, well described eyebrows, no caterpillar brows for him; and the slightest overbite, I was wondering why he looked like he had pursed or compressed lips!

        well, email is bwilliam@rcbc.edu NO S in the williams – or it goes to cyber lala land

        not surprised about the Watchman, that’s high end material, subject and art styling


      2. Hi Beth,
        Yeah, that first email most definitely went to “cyber lala land” lol. I’ll try again and hopefully get there this time (I’m probably even replying in the wrong spot on this blog right now as I’m typing, so fingers crossed). Try this link (in regards to what Richard looked like):


        They took the facial reconstruction that was done from his skull and took a few liberties (i.e. took the hat off, somewhat “modernized” the hair, made the skin tone warmer, made the eyes less deep set and the jaw line a little softer…plus there’s definitely a filter there that would make Barbara Walters proud) BUT I think it could be useful to you when drawing him if you used it in conjunction with NPG portrait and the actual reconstruction. I think despite the obvious touch-ups its a little better than the “modernized” portraits from the article that was attached to the “Henry Tudor in the 21st Century” post from a few days ago (because at least his head isn’t superimposed on Zach Efron’s body lol). Don’t get me wrong, I read almost all of that article AND the hundreds of comments and loved it (it was definitely a clever idea….and some of those comments were HILARIOUS) but I tend to think that putting a 21st century spin on everything is unnecessary.

        Anyhow, don’t know if this will actually be of any help to you or not, but thought it was worth a mention. Hopefully you’ll hear from me soon (I’m such a dumb blonde sometimes lol).


  9. Dear Amma:
    What is the difference between a graphic novel, a manga, and a fictional story with illustrations? I am intrigued, but still puzzled. And I still want to see a copy

    Speaking of books, the ones I was referencing were Henry’s account books, some of which still survive, not the infamous ‘notebooks’ in which he wrote down reminders to himself, who to employ, who to fire, etc. These books (the ones H’s pet monkey tore up) are only mentioned by Bacon, who may have invented the whole story, including the monkey. Especially the monkey.

    Isn’t there a game of comparisons going on here? You know: Richard had intelligence agents, Edward had spies, Henry had the dregs of society working for him.

    I don’t know who Warbeck really was. But if he were Richard of Shrewsbury, he would know that Richard was not responsible for his death, which had not happened. And I really can’t take seriously the idea that not only was PW not PW, but that Lambert Simnel was someone other than LS? Was nobody in late 15th century England not pretending to be someone else? Sounds like a PG. Wodehouse novel!

    Yes, I do know about Wm Powell. I was named after his co-star. (Loy, not Asta.) That’s the curse I have to bear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Halfwit, the dilemma of reading email from a few days back! And you are a lucky woman, Myrna, that must be one of the loveliest, sexiest, slyest MOST underrated and least known truly gifted actors ever! It pains me to think that I can ask a class if they have seen x,y,z film (say, Some Like It Hot or anything by Hitchcock), and not only no one has but the look of total vacuity across the room pains me! The rap against these movies, Myrna! and many of the films they should know is … sigh … they’re in B&W … oh do I have lectures for them on that one!

      But Myrna, a gem, she was so fluid and effortless it may look like she ‘mailed it in’ but I will fight you on that one! Never! The only films I think I have missed are the very early ones, those ingenue films, I think my first Myrna experience was the Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House – the part with the house painter, with the very detailed list of which exact color should be in each room, complete with her carefully chosen and described swatches, well, my kids STILL use that bit to razz me about how I refer to color (honestly, it is NOT red, yellow, blue… there is a reason home centers with paint departments have 20,000 shades of red, yellow and blue and another 5000 shades of white!)

      Ok, now, an illustrated book, the ones we grew up with – for example – anything from ‘spot’ line drawings for Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland to full size paintings made by a NC Wyeth and reproduced on special paper for ‘plates’ which were sewn into the binding for his Kidnapped – both of these examples have endless variations but essentially (visually) supplement a fully realized written story, essay, epic poem, these works do NOT actually need such visual ‘complements’ and very often when published in some format do not have any such illustration.

      When I first had enough material for this ‘project’ I rejected nonfiction academic form, also a fully fictional ‘novel’ format because I am too visual, writing a novel is writing a NOVEL regardless what it is about and that is not me. Even when I do research I make my own maps, ex. where R’s lordships were, how many miles between them from say Doncaster (I have reasons for this one) etc, to flesh out what I see, not just names on a list – so I knew early on it was a graphic novel I was looking at …

      MANGA is a Japanese import, wildly popular form of all visual panel-by-panel storytelling with the ‘bubble’ dialogue. My complaint, and I am a dinosaur here, is that it is derivative – which sounds weird because ALL art is pretty much derivative of something, often outright identical (copyright laws can be very hard to enforce, change one tiny detail on the ‘source’ and voila, it’s yours, it’s known as having a ‘swipe file’ ) – but manga is derivative in ways that just annoys the heck out of this dino, the faces on males are contorted into outlandish ovals with mouths a cannonball would fit through, no nose or just a smudge; on women the eyes are looming slashes with moons underneath and often the breasts would have given Hefner the vapors, all while dressed in her school uniform best- there is also anime manga, and at least 10 actual types of Japanese official Manga (ie. Josei, Hentai, Seinen, Gekiga etc etc … )

      Many artists, painters, have no interest in perspective, (known as foreshortening when applied to anatomical proportions of living things, such as horses, or people), but I do, and I can’t stop now! So, manga is out… lol

      Graphic Novels, however, coming from a ‘classically’ inclined painter, is the very door through which 2-D visual art has a future, it won’t be ‘painting’ – I’m like that monk in his cell in some dusty abbey hovering over a scrap of parchment, and illiterate! devoted to some illuminated swirl of color and gilding on a capital at the top of a page; but I recognize too that what we call the Graphic Novel is still nothing more than what Giotto di Bondone gave the Modern world – in 1305! Every comic book, every cartoon panel, every movie sequence, probably every catalog page your eye follows in rows, or panels or in a GRID, every graphic novel, regardless how experimental, how innovative their stylistic flourishes, color experimentation, Subject matter, how daring their gender bending, how many ways they play good guy is now bad guy but actually really bad guy but saved by alien good robot lost to bad holographic dimension you only THINK is there, go ahead, knock yourself out, it is STILL GIOTTO.

      Ever want to mess with a elitist who knows everything about Modern Culture? Tell them it started with Giotto. IF they even know who that is. Modern Art students and their profs are notoriously ignorant of anything that happened say, 20 minutes before they had brunch. (DO I sound like a High Ren devotee? hmmm throw these words at them, Quattrocento, Cinquecento, Seicento, maniera, chiaroscuro, sfumato, cangiantismo!) so, no, I bow to the Master, Giotto, and I suspect he would be thrilled to see his fascinating solutions to pictorial representation is still working still flexible still viable and still endlessly an option for any narrative, any story!

      He produced images in a panel-by-panel fresco (wet paint on wet plaster, a real stinker of a method, Lord preserve me from ever doing this) – he used something like linear perspective – not true perspective which won’t be invented for another 100+ years in Florence, but something close enough that we could call situational or atmostheric perspective, he placed bodies behind each other, as if they filled the same space and overlapped each other! that was NOT done in 1300, indeed, it may have been done in Antiquity (and we know it was from their wall paintings) but most assuredly it was not done – professionally and popularly – until Giotto’s influence made it possible as a SOLUTION. And the bodies filled a space with indication of mass, their drapery had folds, their backs were shown to us; Giotto kept a low horizon line, meaning all the action is right in front, not disappearing way off into the distance, each character was unique, Saint Peter was recognizable by his manner, his wrathful (usually) face and age, the clothes remained the same panel after panel so the Viewer knew who they were looking at – especially important in ages when illiteracy was the rule – Superman, Spiderman does not have a constantly changing wardrobe from panel to panel, does he? Black Panther or Wonder Woman are always recognizable regardless the visual mayhem tossed about around them … Giotto.

      I could go on. Knowing what I know I also want something different for Richard, he has one foot in Giotto’s world, truly, those beautiful illuminated manuscripts and his stunning handwriting (oh could I talk about that!) are as much about who he was as anything in politics or war. I can’t go manga on him – but I can’t go Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood on him either (an anachronism if there ever was one!)

      So, I have been experimenting with panel options, page options, lettering options, etc – my first chore was to actually get a likeness of Richard that looks enough like him that ‘we’ would all say, yea, I buy that – If I knew how to post that here I would, I have no idea how to do that though – most of the people in this project, and I insist on using 90% real people, documented, verifiable, even if we don’t know what they looked like (I can figure out something for that) but Richard has to look legit.

      We have a variety of portraits, the one at the NPG prob the best known, any number of reproductions can make him look deathly pale (bleached out repro I guess) or so dark as to be sinister, and then the (youthful?) “Arched” Portrait at the Antiquaries’ Society Hall – I find those two the most helpful for comparison and contrast.

      Drawing him was an interesting experiment – I’ve been playing with the idea that I may leave him in conte crayon (a very lush form of ‘pencil’) while the rest of the scene is in pen and ink (the sheer variety of linear options here is tantalizing, especially for shadows, clothing and hair texture, etc) that I’ll try it on one of the scenes I have most developed – one thing I did discover is that Richard had a slight overbite! It’s quite endearing. Initially I thought, why are his lips so compressed so pursed? The copyist must have really been told, or knew? to make him look bitter, or desperate or tight-lipped for a ‘reason’ – all the versions show the narrow, almost tentative mouth.

      Drawing the face however, is entirely different experience – it is an overbite 🙂 truly just a delicate slight overbite, quite noticeable in NPG and the Arched one, that other portrait – in the Royal Collection (at the British Library?) allegedly painted by 1520 – is so over-painted as to be deforming – the eyes are mere squints, the nose almost hawked, mouth isn’t an overbite its clenched, but at least here the copyist apparently saw the ‘original?’ portrait straight on whereas the NPG copyist could only have seen their source material from a severe angle which is why the eyes don’t sync up properly (driving me batty in the process) –

      What the – as I call it – Malicious Richard portrait has in common with the others are the deep sockets for his eyes, high cheek bones, that very obstinant chin (not quite a Kirk Douglas chin), and finely described eyebrows – on the forensic model of him from the skull, someone gave him caterpillar eyebrows! ye gods. What the Arched portrait has in common with the others are the same details mentioned but a rather curious ‘bulbous’ nose (well, at the tip) which is not on any other portrait, admittedly copyists can do anything they want as we have no idea for whom they made the portrait – or why, but no, I’m not sure about a knobby nose when no one else shows it!

      The Arched portrait is not without its other issues – to me anyway – I very nearly switched my major to Art Conservation after a semester with a conservationist and a paper that I did which required close work with one who actually worked on an Ingres! The Antiquaries Society apparently did ‘some’ cleaning on Richard’s portrait, uh huh, well, I know that it is incredibly expensive to do this, and wildly difficult to actually do it, IF the conservationist removes actual paint from the ‘original’ copyist it is irreparably damaged, a disaster. So it is a less is better, less is more, less keeps your job…

      For my purposes, because I need to have a range of expressions, positions of the head and face, I made a list of Richard Clues (never needed or noticed any of these before the ‘project’ lol) – light brown wavy hair, hmmm, very light grey blue eyes, skeletal thin to the point where the skin is stretched over his high cheeks and from the deep eye sockets, not sure about how high a forehead he had, that chin! whoa, I still say the nose was prominent (in a thin face that would happen) but a knob wouldn’t have been missed by any copyist) so no, not hawkish but not WC Fields either, and that lovely overbite easily mistaken for pursed, and in the wrong hands for clenched – as for the furrowed brow seen in the NPG portrait (the most often seen portrait) this is pure over-painting, total fantasy – the man was 30, if that when it was likely painted – possibly after the Scots campaign ? who knows, but furrows like that would have altered the eyebrows considerably, would have forced the eyelids’ position into very different arrangement – we can’t blame it on a lousy copyist – there were always good artists available, if its hack work it’s obvious (see the execrable Hever Castle portrait of Richard, beyond grotesque, the Puritan Fathers looked jollier after a frigid winter at Plymouth!)

      well, you’re bored silly by now

      as per who’s spies/intelligence/low lifes are whose … we have precious little documentation for any of it, in all my trolling I have found ONE pertinant article on espionage and intelligence, from 1991, by Ian Arthurson, originally published in Nottingham Medieval Studies XXXV – it is available online – and while he is maddening in how he structured his material, his sources, and from what I read, knew precious little about Richard (well, the Gairdner Richard which seems to be all one needs in academia) he provided my first real sense that E4, for all his bumbling with spies (very haphazard, really, such disorganization!) it is a wonder to me that he survived on the throne at all! Edward’s spies were prob no better – socially or morally – than anyone H will use, but what surprised me was Warwick and George! And the Beauforts! Well, it was a start, Wroe has alot of equally jumbled material in her book on Warbeck; everyone talks around the edges, mentions them, notes that there were spies, and in warfare they had a different profile, but essentially it is a rare thing to have amounts next to actual names and what they were doing! One has to wait for H for that – I think I must read Sir Francis B concerning H … I know he has made a few comments about R that are seemingly positive, or they sound that way to me – but I think I have been remiss to not know the Bacon bio on H … as they say, my bad.

      warbeck … well. IF he was indeed R of Shrewsbury, and spirited out of England, let’s say by Brampton (my favored solution), prob by late 1484, he is what? 11 and then what does Brampton do with him? can’t take him to the duchess, can’t take him to Portugal, can’t keep him on his merchant ships, easiest solution would be foster him somewhere and practice practice practice the best possible story that protects his sisters, his aunts, his grandmother Cecily (who did indeed support Warbeck) – if that ‘story’ is you escaped but keep the details muddled so much the better, as to his eye with the haze (?) he was last seen by the Court at barely 10, and a lively sounding child at that, one could be forgiven for missing the many transitions a child grows through (did he have all his secondary teeth, missing just a few? If he is like my 8 year old grandson, the mouth would look like a Jack o’ Lantern, if like my 10 year old grandson, half the teeth are huge secondary ones, the other half still baby teeth with unsightly gaps nearby, makes for interesting photos) would I even notice a ‘lazy’ eye (if that is what they were describing?) And who is to say that an injury or disease to the eye didn’t occur after he left the Tower for his nomadic life? If I had been coached properly at 11-20 or whatever, I would tell you I grew up in the Land of Oz and I want my Ruby Slippers back! I’m not joking, Dorothy and I shared many a tear every year when she said goodbye to Scarecrow!

      With Brampton any scenario is possible, his own life and career is one of almost complete fabrication! or nearly so, he claimed to have been given the KG, well, he was knighted by Richard in 1484, we do know that, but the KG? R gave out all of 7 of those, and to a few men I wouldn’t have (Sir Richard Tunstall, for example) Very possibly Brampton was on the short list for the KG but he switched his citizenship between England and Portugal the way some people change socks, he was the very epitome of opportunist, entrepreneur and dare I say capitalist? If I could have made the dates work I would have used Brampton for the pivot character for this project.

      Too much to say about PW here, LS is easier, it was NEVER about some poor kid named Lambert lol, I like that Wodehouse comment. Lambert was always a false flag, the question really is WHO was allegedly going to be on the throne once H got tossed off? (and what I wonder would they have done with Eliz of York and her little son?)

      The most telling prob is that H himself wanted John de la Pole taken alive – clearly no one believed the Lambert story, or the Edward of Warwick being placed on the throne – so, who were they priming the coup for? the prior E5? the missing nomad R of S somewhere in Flanders? De la Pole himself?


  10. To go in reverse order: Yes, I think the rebellion was meant to put John de la Pole on the throne. But I have read all sorts of explanations of what happened to the princes, including Time Travel! Kind of like the Baldwin theory that one of them might have become ‘Richard of Eastwell.” But who knows

    Dentition: We may not define ‘overbite’ the same way. If it means the upper teeth are slightly in front of the lower, most people have this. Only when it is very pronounced do we say that they have a receeding chin or a Hapsburg jaw. Looks like Richard’s teeth met exactly, which was enough to give him a tight-lipped appearance. The high cheekbones were a Plantagenet characteristic that even the bastard lines had. They eyes – well, maybe Richard did have a slight ourdoorsman’s squint – just as HT had a peering look, because he had poor vision in his later years. Here’s an interesting experiment: go through the ‘updated’ pictures of historical characters and put glasses on them!

    PW does, if his portrait is accurate, look a lot like EoY. Half-brother maybe?

    Have to admit, my attention did wander when you were explaining Giotto, et. al., though I do know who he was. My Art Appreciation classes may have left some things to be desired, and I am certainly not an artist by profession.

    I did not suggest that Myrna Loy ‘mailed in’ her performances. Why I think it was a curse to be named after her is that she never seemed to get older – when I dd! I saw the movie in which she played Doris Day’s aunt, or step-mom, or something, and she looked younger than Doris! Life is just NOT FAIR

    I agree with you about (cracked old voice) “young people nowadays – they think the world began on the day they were born!” Now that my husband has passed on, I may be the only person living who knows who Gilbert & Sullilvan were, or who can sing “Tit Willow,”
    …….or would dare to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Halfwit, your charming replies make me smile and your observations are more helpful than I can tell you. Squint is a good word for it and it would explain whatever lines (furrows) R had between the brows.

      His skull certainly shows beautiful teeth, no overbite so you’re right, in the sense of protruding front teeth no, I think what his NPG portrait captured is the manner of the upper lip, especially as it would naturally turn or curl into the corners of the mouth; whomever painted this did so with remarkable ‘touch’ it’s extraordinary considering how coarse the forehead is handled (had to have been over-painting and NOT by the same ‘hand’ as we say, that is by the same painter. The mouth and areas around the cheek where it softens before that hard ridge of high cheekbone is brutally difficult to paint or draw. It was handled with truly expressive delicacy, I might even say worthy of Italian training!)

      The longer I work with this as the prototype the more I think whomever this copyist was did not burn with animus toward Richard, it’s not the malicious ‘hack’ work seen in the portrait of the Royal Collection. But that ‘hand’ is not a skillful one (trained) …

      btw, this pose is known as a 3/4 view, not a full face nor profile, and was popularized by the massively influential Rogier van der Weyden more or less ‘invented’ this pose for his illustrious and wealthy and sacred Subjects, this was the pose Mona Lisa was meant to imitate! lol … and it is a beast for students (or anyone) to do properly, you are tasked to capture soft tissues and hard bone as they are in intimate conjunction with each other, note now how exceptional this copyist handled Richard’s mouth curving upwards into shadow – while disappearing into soft flesh of the cheek – yet on the other side the mouth pulls down, as if hesitant – and that HUGE swathe of cheek, jaw, high cheekbone, is killer.

      And then that nose, that chin … in Da Vinci’s case he took this ‘pose’ but reinvented what could be done not so much with just the pose but with the PAINT. One could properly say Leonardo reinvented oil paint with that one.

      Of all Richard’s ‘portraits’ the NPG one strikes me the one mostly sensitively painted, that is most likely done by a trained painter – they just didn’t have access to the original portrait straight on – hold your cell phone with this portrait (or repro of portrait) at arm’s length, to one side and down, you’ll see that the ‘eyes’ sync up just fine.

      Presumably the original was hanging in a location that the copyist was not able to either remove or could not physically stand in front of – you may have seen students/amateurs making copies from works in a museum and notice that they rarely are afforded the opportunity to sit immediately in front (blocking everyone else’s view or groups on tour) and for myself, I would not do so as the glare from natural or artificial lighting obscures or distorts the image on the painting.

      Viewing from an angle alleviates this – the negative is physiological goof ups like the eyes, which, my guess is the copyist either couldn’t rectify in the studio or when they were done with it did NOT appear that alarming … because later someone else over-painted details, like the forehead creases.

      Myrna, I never thought about her as an ‘age’ – you’re quite right, but then, bad me, I just assumed Hollywood lighting and cosmeticians had that one covered, her figure however, hmmm… do we have anyone like her anymore??

      I recently found a photo of Joan Neville, countess Arundel, one of the many sisters of Richard earl of Warwick, it’s from her sarcophagus, oh my, oh my, could it be ever remotely accurate? Those Plantagenet cheekbones, the delicacy of her tiny mouth and face, I was blown away. I can’t bring myself to consider Rous’s crude illustration of Anne Neville, Richard’s wife, as remotely possible, I’d rather think she resembled this Joan, who would have been her aunt.

      Well, ignore all that Giotto stuff etc it’s just ‘inside baseball’ – my kids tune me out and likely the grandsons will too


  11. Amma:
    I certainly didn’t mean for ‘squint’ to be taken as a criticism. I have a ‘squint’ myself, because the vision in one eye is much worse (or better?) than in the other. I can walk around and do most things without difficulty, but I tend to close one eye when doing close work or typing – as I am now. And this in spite of wearing glasses to theoretically correct it. I do think that people who spend a lot of time outdoors may tend to develop one, with its attendant wrinkles, even when their eyesight is normal
    Although not an artist in any way (not even handcrafty) I did appreciate your ‘inside baseball’ info. I didn’t realize how difficult the 3/4 view is.
    Do you think the Viscountess is going to tell us to “Break it up,ladies – or get a room.”?


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: