Sculpture Journal

The queen’s two bodies: monumental sculpture at the funeral of Anna of Denmark, 1619

Sculpture Journal (2020), 29, (1), 27–43.

Abstract

The death in 1619 of Anna of Denmark, queen consort to James VI and I, was marked with a magnificent public funeral. The visual focal points of her obsequies were her two bodies – her corpse, enclosed in its coffin, and her recumbent wooden effigy resting above. This article assesses how ritual display, from the queen’s lying-in-state through her funeral procession to the post-interment display of her effigy and hearse, inscribed both remains and representation with richly layered significances. Drawing on previously neglected archival and visual material, it argues that ancestral, maternal and transnational identities were projected on to her sculpted figure. The funeral proclaimed the ascendancy of England’s new royal Stuart line through the body of its consort. Once the rites were over, however, memories faded and the effigy’s meanings were slowly forgotten. Anna’s funeral sculpture, therefore, demonstrates the potential mutability and instability of monumental messages.

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Details

Author details

Murray, Catriona