The inspiration for this piece came from a legend about the romantic entanglements of one of history's
most notorious monarchs. The story has it that Henry VIII of England — wasting no efforts in
his attempt to discredit his second queen, Anne Boleyn, and thereby clearing the marital
path to wife number three — spread the word that Anne, in addition to the
official line about being an adulterer/traitor, was possessed of a supernumerary breast.
Such a gland was popularly known as a “witch's teat” and came with all the supernatural connotations that name implies.
Satan himself was said to suckle there. If Anne Boleyn did actually possess anything unusual in that area, the so-called teat would
probably have been little more than a mole or at most a superfluous nipple — both of which are quite common. Anne is said to have
had a mole on her neck which was considered unsightly, so she took to wearing a black velvet ribbon to cover it. Regardless, this gossip
about a fifty percent bonus in the royal décolletage did get people whispering that their young queen might deserve a trip to
the stake or dunking stool.
Anne is also rumored to have been polydactyl — that is, having more than the usual five digits per hand. She is said to have
hidden her extra fingers in long sleeves, which started a new fashion craze at court. Presumably, these additional fingers further
confirmed her as a witch and therefore a danger to national security. The tarot deck was stacked against her.
Here I present the tragic queen prior to her visit to the chopping block with all of her alleged witchy attributes prominently restored.
We see her plucking petals from a Tudor rose, in a portrait after the manner of Hans Holbein the Younger.