Monday, February 17, 2014
"A rose without thorns"
Those were the glowing words Henry VIII spoke in reference to his new, fifth wife, Kathryn Howard. The king had been wifeless for three years after the death of Jane Seymour from complications giving birth to the long-awaited son Prince Edward. Enter Anne of Cleves, who didn't exactly tickle Henry's fancy and was lucky enough to be sent packing home with just a divorce.
The flirtatious 19-year-old Kathryn raised the spirits of the middle-aged, gouty king but the honeymoon didn't last long. Within 18 months, she was accused of promiscuity, sentenced for treason and executed at the Tower of London. She was buried in the same church on Tower grounds where her cousin Anne Boleyn had been interred after her execution for the same offense.
My interpretation of Kathryn as shown here is also based on a portrait by Hans Holbein that hangs in London's National Portrait Gallery. Like her cousin Anne, she wears a French hood, but by Kathryn's time the style had been modified so the stiffening around her face only reached to ear-level. Like that of the other wives, the black veil has been stitched in basketweave with Petite Very Velvet. The white band is studded with Smyrna crosses and the color of the outer band, worked in tent stitches with DMC floss #434, coordinates with her dress.
The white insert to her bodice was worked with alternating stem stitches and Gobelin stitches over two threads and is also studded with Smyrna crosses. Lots of work to do, so back to stitching!