A Tudor lady and her cat

My latest commission. Almost packaged up and ready to go to its new home. It was commissioned by a lovely lady called Ann. It is of herself and her dearly departed cat Dolly.

She enjoys writing and all things Tudor. In fact Ann has a novel published set in the Tudor period called ‘Heartsease’ . Being a Tudor portrait nut myself, this was a dream commission.

She originally contacted me after seeing my Flemish style portrait of Georgie on the White Queen Facebook fan page last November.  Upon seeing this, Ann thought she would treat herself to a portrait to celebrate her 60th birthday.

I thoroughly enjoyed this commission. Ann was a dream client. It took a while to get the right photos, but then it always does. Once we settled on the suitable images, it was plain sailing. Ann was always quick to respond to emails. I always knew exactly what she wanted or didn’t want. She was clear with her instructions, answered all my questions thoroughly and her emails were always friendly and full of humour. Quite simply a joy to work with. This helped me get the project off the ground with ease.

Ann mentioned in one of her earlier emails that she had previously had a professional photo session done with her cat Dolly. So I suggested that Dolly appeared in the portrait. Ann was thrilled with this suggestion.  As a cat custodian myself, I know how deep the affection and bond with one’s feline companion can become (not to mention the unbearable emptiness of their passing). And tuxedo cats are the best! So I enjoyed every stroke while painting Dolly. All the time I was thinking of my own departed puss, Vasey who I had from 8 weeks old until he past away at the ripe old age of 20!

So thrilled was Ann with the final piece that she was inspired to compose the following:

This is Lady Ann, possibly the most dangerous woman at the court of King Henry. She is a woman who is intelligent as she can read and write which makes her a threat. See how she has a slight smile curling up the corners of her mouth, she knows the secrets of many of the king’s privy councillors and writes them down, maybe to use these secrets for her own advancement in the future. Also, which is a more bigger threat to the God fearing king, she is left handed, a sign of the devil, what havoc could she wreak if she uses her powers against him! She also has her familiar, her loyal black and white cat, her constant companion.

Marvellous! Maybe her portrait will inspire a new novel!

Ideally a client would provide actual costume reference. In the past when re-enactors have commissioned me, this hasn’t posed a problem, but it’s rare to have that luxury. So I usually have to tap into my idols’ work for reference. It’s invaluable! I couldn’t do what I do otherwise. So just a quick thank you to Holbein for always being there for me.

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