CROMWELL (THOMAS) Letter signed and subscribed ("Your assur[yd ffreend] Thomas Crumwell"), to Dr Nicholas Wotton, English delegate to Cleves, discussing final negotiations for the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves, [1539]
Lot 22
CROMWELL (THOMAS) Letter signed and subscribed ("Your assur[yd ffreend] Thomas Crumwell"), to Dr Nicholas Wotton, English delegate to Cleves, discussing final negotiations for the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves, [1539]
£4,000 - 6,000
US$ 6,700 - 10,000
withdrawn
Lot Details
CROMWELL (THOMAS)
Letter signed and subscribed ("Your lovyng assuryd ffreend/ Thomas Crumwell"), to Dr Nicholas Wotton, English delegate to Cleves, expressing considerable impatience on behalf of both the King and Council and urging him to secure an answer from the Duke of Cleves ratifying the marriage between the King and Anne of Cleves; telling that the King and his Council "doo not a lytle muse and marvayl" that he has secured no answer from the Duke as to how he and the Ambassadors from Cleves [already in England] take "the conclusion of the Mariage", now that the "the tyme of the ratification approcheth", the text in the secretary hand of a Royal Chancery scribe, 2 pages, trace of seal, address leaf detached, holed, paper-losses with later restoration to the lower third section, affecting the last seven lines of text and subscription and touching on the signature, further dust- or damp-staining, traces of former sewing into a volume, folio, London, [8 November, 1539]

Footnotes


  • 'THE CONCLUSION OF THE MARIAGE': THOMAS CROMWELL PRESSES FOR RATIFICATION OF HENRY VIII'S MARRIAGE TO ANNE OF CLEVES – the principal cause of his downfall and execution less than nine months later. It has by tradition been thought that Cromwell advanced this marriage in order to consolidate the English Reformation: 'In March, Nicholas Wotton and Richard Beard began the negotiations at Cleves but were frustrated by the stalling tactics of Wilhelm, who was still attempting to conciliate the emperor. By late summer the ambassadors had achieved success, and Hans Holbein the younger was commissioned to paint a portrait of Anne, which Wotton swore was a faithful representation of her. Many contemporaries, including Wotton, praised her beauty' (Retha M. Warnicke, 'Anne of Cleves', ODNB). By 4 October a marriage treaty was signed in London by the Cleves ambassadors. It remained for Wotton only to make final arrangements in Cleves. After further prevarication on the Duke's part, Anne of Cleves eventually departed for England, arriving at Dover on 27 December: 'On New Year's day 1540 the king caught his first glimpse of her at Rochester. However, it was immediately obvious that she was not the beauty Holbein had portrayed, and Henry found her physically repulsive. The wedding ceremony on 6 January at Greenwich was unavoidable and Cromwell took the blame... Cromwell's fall cannot be attributed to any one mistake or decision, although the Cleves marriage was the single most important factor in undermining the king's confidence in him. It was also a problem particularly difficult for Cromwell to resolve, as Henry's divorce from Anne would only lead to the king's marrying Norfolk's niece, Katherine Howard, thereby further threatening the minister's position' (Howard Leithead, 'Thomas Cromwell', ODNB).

    This letter is a duplicate – signed by Cromwell – of the letter sold in these rooms, 25 May 2012, lot 55, and shares its provenance. In all, only some 350 letters by Cromwell are known, nearly all of which are in institutional collections, principally the National Archives and the British Library.

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