Queen Bess with Botox. Fake Boobs for Marie Antoinette. and Henry VIII's Hair Transplant

Daily Mail (London), May 2, 2013 | Go to article overview

Queen Bess with Botox. Fake Boobs for Marie Antoinette. and Henry VIII's Hair Transplant


Byline: by Suzannah Lipscomb

BREAST implants, bleached teeth, liposuction and Botox ... the most famous characters in history would have looked very different if they'd been around today.

From Henry VIII to Lord Nelson, Queen Elizabeth I to Marie Antoinette and William Shakespeare, these five portraits imagine giants from history with a distinctly 21st-century twist.

The portraits -- commissioned to tie in with the new historical TV series The Secret Life Of ... -- were created by a digital artist using computer graphics.

Although the project is playful and irreverent, it is rooted in legitimate research. I spent three months working with the artist, deciding what changes could be backed up with real historical knowledge.

Take Henry's crucifix, for instance, worn around his neck on a thong as a sexy talisman. He was a voracious lover, but he was also deeply religious: when he broke with Rome to create the Church of England, he did it with a real understanding of the theology involved.

We know him best from his portrait by Hans Holbein, which hung at the Palace of Whitehall, where visiting dignitaries would be confronted by his imposing image as they arrived.

We've kept the macho pose but put him into a tailored Simon Cowell-type suit and an unbuttoned shirt, with a designer watch -- very much the lady-killer (which Henry was, in more ways than one).

Take a good look, though, and you'll see that all these familiar faces from the past are not so different from the people we see around us every day... ? The Secret Life Of ... is on the Yesterday channel tonight at 9pm.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) was the ultimate trendy playwright, not just a serious artist but the superstar of commercial theatre. Today, he would have been writing for TV, the National Theatre and Hollywood -- all at the same time. We've depicted him as a hipster, very vain about his quiff and his immaculately trimmed beard. There has always been speculation about his sexuality, since he wrote poetry to men and women. So we popped an earring in his left ear, which carries a hint that he was gay.

MARIE ANTOINETTE (1755-1793), queen of France and wife of Louis XVI, who was executed during the French Revolution, was a fashion diva. But she was also far from being a natural beauty.

When her name was suggested as a suitable bride for Louis, courtiers saw her portrait and were horrified: she had too high a forehead, they said, wonky teeth and tiny breasts.

Marie Antoinette had been teased from her teens about the flatness of her bust. It's likely, if she were alive today, she would want breast implants. She certainly underwent appalling 18th-century corrective dentistry, so I'm sure she would have been delighted with the small pearly whites our makeover has provided.

She loved clothes and was a great trendsetter, buying four pairs of shoes every week and changing her outfits three times a day. …

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Queen Bess with Botox. Fake Boobs for Marie Antoinette. and Henry VIII's Hair Transplant
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