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November 26, 2017 Hand Net

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Jane Seymour
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OOAK Doll by Nelli Cronin

"Jane Seymour’s family was of ancient and respectable lineage. Her father was Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall in Wiltshire; he served in the Tournai campaign of 1513 and accompanied Henry VIII to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. He was made a knight of the body and later a gentleman of the king’s bedchamber. Both positions were very desirable for they allowed personal access to the king. Courtiers were always desperate to gain the king’s ear, if even for a brief moment. Sir John was able to secure appointments at court for his family; of his eight children, three would come to historical prominence – the eldest son Edward as duke of Somerset and Lord Protector, another son Thomas as Lord Admiral and husband of Henry VIII’s last queen, and his daughter Jane as queen of England.

The Seymour rise to prominence at Henry’s court mirrored that of the Boleyns; it was the path sought by all English families with a minor pedigree or clever son. But gaining the king’s favor was rather different than maintaining it and the Seymours proved far more adept at the latter.

Jane’s birthdate is unknown; various accounts use anywhere from 1504 to 1509. She first came to court as a lady-in-waiting to Katharine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife. But soon enough Anne Boleyn was queen and Jane attended her. She witnessed first-hand the tempestuous relationship between Anne and Henry. Jane herself was known for her quiet and soothing manner. Certainly Henry knew of her but there is no evidence that he took particular notice until September 1535 when his royal progress stopped at Wolf Hall. Such a visit was a great honor for the Seymour family. And it brought Jane, away from court and its flirtatious young beauties, immediately to the king’s attention.

Many historians have argued this was the beginning of Henry’s infatuation, but it was unlikely. Anne Boleyn was not completely out of favor just yet; she was pregnant again,portrait of Jane Seymour by an unknown artist though she would suffer a miscarriage in January. And Henry’s flirtations were confined to Anne’s cousin, Madge Shelton. Jane Seymour was perhaps in the king’s thoughts but he did nothing for several months.

In February 1536, however, foreign ambassadors began to report rumors of the king’s romance with Jane. They speculated upon her chances of becoming queen. Henry made his affection clear to Jane; she received costly gifts (which she prudently returned) and her brothers were promoted at court. In April 1536, Edward Seymour and his wife moved to rooms which connected through a hidden passage with the king’s apartments. Henry could thus continue his courtship of Jane in relative privacy.

But the king was also mindful of the vicious rumors and public outrage which had accompanied his open courtship of Anne Boleyn while still wed to Katharine of Aragon. He was far more discreet with Jane, and this undoubtedly suited her character. She was content to remain unknown. There were rumors that she would not dine alone with the king, insisting always upon a chaperone, and that she responded to a particularly bold flirtation by reminding the king of his marriage." –

Closeup of Roman dining couch (lectus) made of wood with bronze adornments 1st century BCE
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The lectus, or couch, or bed, was perhaps the most important item of Roman style furniture. Used for sleeping, sitting, relaxing or eating, the lectus was a wooden frame supporting criss crossed leather straps that held a matress stuffed, originally with straw, and later with wool or feathers.

At one end there was an arm, as in modern sofas; sometimes there was an arm at each end, and a back as well. The back was likely a Roman addition to the ordinary form of the ancient couch.

It had a headboard, and was furnished with pillows, cushions and a coverlet. The legs were often highly decorated and inlaid or plated with tortoise-shell, ivory, or the precious metals. Mention is made even of frames of solid silver. The coverings were often made of the finest fabrics, dyed in the most brilliant colors, and worked with figures of gold. Primarily used for relaxing and socializing in the living areas, the lectus also formed the basis of Roman style bedroom furniture.

In some of the bedrooms of Pompeii the frame seems to be missing ; when like this the mattress was laid on a support built up from the floor. The couches used as sleeping beds seem to have been larger than those used as sofas, and they were so high that stools or even steps were necessary to reach them.

As a sofa the Roman lectus was used in Roman libraries for reading and writing; the student supported himself on his left arm and held the book or writing with the right hand. In Roman dining rooms the lectus had a permanent place. –

Photographed at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.

Stuart Range from Earl Peak
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A hand-stitched panorama of the Stuart range taken from across the Ingalls creek valley on Earl Peak.

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