Apr 152011

The six wives of Henry VIII (and, of course, the King himself) at Madame Tussaud

…is a part of Madame Tussaud’s wax figure cabinet in London. They also have a nice wax figurine of Queen Elizabeth I., which I will show at the bottom of the page.

Now – we could endlessly discuss the historical correctness of the gowns at Tussaud’s, but I will only point you to some interesting things before showing the pictures to you:

Catherine of Aragon

  1. What’s that, under the neckline of her bodice? The border of a smock? SO WIDE? Ahrrrggg…
  2. Shoulder straps of the black velvet dress are slipping down.
  3. I’m utterly happy that they resolved the portrait mistake of the too small ermine dots.
  4. I’m so *not* sure that this black lace around her neck / shoulders in the portrait is a necklace, as it’s in the reproduction of Tussaud…
  5. The ’sash‘ ends of her white ‚belt‘ don’t hang down in the portrait as they do on the wax double. I’m *scratches head* also not so very certain if that would have been Tudor fashion…

Jane Seymour

  1. Very, very nice girdle!
  2. HIS jewel – wonderful!
  3. Beautiful velvet!
  4. The cord couching embroidery seems a little large on the Tussaud reproduction. Note, for example, that the border around the neckline is less than her thumb’s wide in the portrait, but two fingers broad on the Tussaud reproduction. It’s also not *couching* embroidery in the reproduction, but narrow zigzag stitching embroidery. However – my kudos to whoever had to embroider that!
  5. The undersleeves are not slashed, as in the portrait.
  6. Forepart and undersleeves are too light in the Tussaud reproduction.
  7. Neckline of the smock is a little too wide.

Anne of Cleves

  1. Where can I start… the colors are…. so…. off…. on… just everything… in the reproduction… (or, from Tussaud’s point of view – perhaps in the original portrait? I have no idea…)
  2. I’m *cough* so not sure that the patterned fabric of Anne’s gown in the portrait would have been something like *cough* well, something that, in close-up, strongly resembles quilted beige denim fabric, as it was used for the Tussaud reproduction…
  3. Neckline of the bodice is far too deep (I don’t mean the partlet, or it might also be a smock)
  4. Stripes on the sleeves don’t run diagonally on the Tussaud reproduction, as they do in the portrait, but horizontally.
  5. Belt is golden at Tussaud’s, but probably of leather in the portrait.
  6. I just won’t comment on the modern necklace… I won’t.
  7. The pearl decoration on the partlet/smock is just gorgeous.
  8. The upper, fabric-made necklace in the Tussaud reproduction is *not* gorgeous.
  9. Tussaud’s sleeve cuffs and their ruffs are… strange, compared to the portrait.

But decide and study for yourselves:
Here are pictures of some of them, sorted by person, together with the painting from which the wax model / clothing was obviously created:

 Note: Some pictures are older, taken in 2003.

The first picture of each figurine shows the painting which I think was used to create the particular figurine and costume.

Henry VIII

Catherine of Aragon

Anne Boelyn

Jane Seymour

Anne of Cleves

Kathryn Howard

Katherine Parr

Queen Elizabeth I. as seen in the ‚Ermine‘ portrait


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