Feature Fridays – Maps & Globes

Garden, History

Maps & Globes is the theme for #FeatureFridays with Historic Houses.

In the Tudor Garden is an amazing Armillary Globe, and it dates to the reign of Queen Anne (reigned 1702-1714). The use of such Globes dates back to ancient times right up to Tudor period and beyond. Armillary Globes or spheres were generally used to demonstrate the movement of the celestial heavens around the earth at its centre, but when a small drawing of an armillary sphere is doodled with an inscription in a religious work then that sphere usually symbolises time. One such inscription was made by Anne Boleyn, arguably Hever Castle’s most famous resident. In a book of hours, owned by Anne which is now on permanent display at Hever Castle, Anne drew an astrolabe or armillary sphere, under an inscription “Le temps Viendra, or “The Time will come”.

We are not sure when Anne wrote this inscription, or exactly what it’s meaning is, however it is written on a page next to an illustration of the Last Judgement, which may indicate that Anne was referring to her mortality.

Anne was afforded an unusually good education. Her father, Thomas Boleyn, was a humanist who believed that both sons and daughters should be educated. Through his successful career as a diplomat to King Henry VIII, Thomas was able to secure a coveted position for Anne at the Habsburg court of Margaret of Austria in the Netherlands, and then at the Valois court in France. Anne was exposed to new radical ideas during her time in the European courts and formed radical religious opinions. This astrolabe, therefore, may also tell us something about her exposure to both new and old ideas.

Discover more about the Book of Hours here.

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