hampton court palac

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656)
“Self-portrait as the Allegory of Painting” (1639)
Oil on canvas
On display in the Cumberland Gallery in the Hampton Court Palace, Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, England

Gentileschi was an Italian Baroque painter, and one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following Caravaggio. In an era when women painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence, one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious art schools in the world.

This image was taken at Hampton Court Palace. Holly Hampshire was messing around on her phone with her cousin, the two girls didn’t realize they had captured the image until they got home. The figure is believed to be Sybil Penn, a servant who died of smallpox in the early 1500s. It is believed that Sybil haunts the palace after her grave was moved some time after her death. Holly and her cousin Brooke, told reporters that they have lost sleep over the frightening image, and there is no evidence that the photo was tampered with.


A series of cold, crisp winter days have resulted in some beautiful photos of the palaces this week. Thanks to all who shared their best snaps with us! Here’s our pick of the bunch.

Share your best shot using #PalacePhoto and it could be featured in next week’s selection.  


On this day in history, 12th October 1537, Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, gave birth to the future Edward VI of England. 

The young prince was born after a long and difficult labour. Queen Jane went into labour on the 9th October and finally gave birth after two days and three nights on the 12th. He was christened on the 15th of October at Hampton Court Palace and his godparents were the Princess Mary, the Duke of Norfolk and the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Edward’s father, King Henry VIII, died on 28th January 1547 making Edward King Edward VI of England. However, Henry’s death was not announced to Parliament until 31st January as arrangements needed to be made by Council. Edward was only nine years old and far too young to rule over the country himself so a Council of Regency was set up, according to Henry VIII’s will.Sixteen executors had been named by Henry to act as a regency council until Edward came of age at 18 and this council was led by Edward’s uncle, Edward Seymour, who became Lord Protector of the Realm.

By the winter of 1552/1553, it was obvious that Edward VI was seriously ill and by May the Council were panicking about the problem of the succession to the throne. Henry VIII had restored his daughters’ succession to the throne, meaning that on Edward’s death the Princess Mary should become Queen, but Dudley and his council had other ideas. Fearing the succession of a Catholic monarch who would undo all of the religious reforms of Edward’s reign, Edward was persuaded to write a document called  “My devise for the succession” which made it plain that he wished the protestant Lady Jane Grey, his first cousin once removed, to become Queen.

On 6th July 1553 Edward VI died at Greenwich Palace, aged only 15. The exact cause of his death is unknown, although theories include consumption (tuberculosis) and bronchopneumonia which led to septicaemia and other problems.