Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rescue Beauty Lounge Tudor Housewives collex swatches!

I didn't want any of these Rescue Beauty Lounge polishes at first but then I read Antonia Fraser's The Wives of King Henry VIII. And then I wanted all of them. Even though these are only four of his six wives. Which kind of bothers me because it feels incomplete. Where is the love for Anna of Cleves and Catherine Parr (though Catherine Parr is probably the least colorful character of the six)?

And then I wanted to review them just because I like the following rhyme; I think it's an amusing way to remember the order of Henry's wives:

Divorced, beheaded, died;
Divorced, beheaded, survived.

By my count, these were named for Divorced No #1 (Catherine of Aragon), Beheaded Nos #1 and #2 (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) and the singular one who died naturally while still married to Henry (Jane Seymour).

My first question is why did one man marry so many women by the name of Catherine (or Katheryn, or whatever permutations of the name his wives used)? If you've already divorced one Catherine and beheaded another... why marry a third? Wouldn't the name feel jinxed to you? I guess Henry was a hopeless romantic and optimist.

All of these were NOTDs so I can comment somewhat on their longevity. In chronological order by the date of their marriage to Henry...

RBL Catherine
This is the only manicure that I did with only a coat of Nubar Nu Nails as basecoat (and Diamont as topcoat) and it chipped like mad the first day. And it refused to dry so it got all squashed up. Dark eggplant purple with multicolored shimmer: I love seeing the gold, pink, blue and green shimmer all together in the sunlight. It is rather dull and depressing indoors though.

Closeup of Catherine
Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile -- and was therefore serious royalty and, in the tradition of upper-crust Castilian women of her time, was also seriously educated and deeply religious -- was actually first married to Henry's older brother, Arthur, who died. Henry married her afterwards but after she failed to produce a male heir, Henry decided that not only was the union unsatisfactory, God was also dissatisfied with it. Why? Because he had committed a form of incest by marrying his brother's wife. Yet while God supposedly agreed with Henry, the Catholic Church did not want to grant him an annulment or divorce. Henry's solution: the English Reformation. Thus, Henry, as head of his own Church, got himself an annulment and Catherine ended her days pretty much exiled from the English court.

RBL Anne
This murky green (again, with the multicolored shimmer in a base that appears quite dull indoors but is lovely in sunlight) was a pain in my neck to apply. The formula was harder to control, needed three coats to get all of the spotty patches and also refused to dry. This wouldn't be so bad in a less expensive polish but I expect better quality from RBL. This was with Gelous and Diamont, which meant that it stayed together pretty well for two days -- this photo was taken on the second day -- but the long dry time contributed to the number of dents that I acquired while asleep. :(

Closeup of Anne
Okay, guys, obviously, she wasn't a witch and didn't bewitch Henry by means of "sortilege". She was young, intelligent, charming and *ahem* wouldn't give it up until he married her. And, most importantly, she kept on swearing she'd bear a son for Henry. When she didn't, he got pissed at her (and also worried that maybe God didn't like her either because he had committed a sort of incest because he had had an affair with her sister, Mary Boleyn years before). After plenty of intrigue and a totally bullshit trial, she ended up being sentenced to death (along with her accused "lovers", one of whom was her brother). Apparently, when she was told who her executioner was, she said that she had heard he was good and besides, "I have a very small neck".

RBL Jane
I think this may be my favorite polish from the collection. I've seen swatches of this elsewhere and it appears more beige on many Caucasian people -- a perfect nude for them. On me, a tanned Asian woman, it pulls more grey and even brings out some tinges of dusty purple. Like the other polishes, it has shimmer but this is more opalescent shimmer (which still sparkles several different colors) and is more subtle. I love this color though: I guess this could be called a greige. :) Two coats, so beautifully and thickly pigmented. Very easy to apply. This stayed for two or three days without a single chip and almost no tipwear with Gelous and Diamont.

Closeup of Jane
Oh, plain Jane Seymour. This is sort of perfect for her. She supposedly was a bland, timid lady who was sweet and obedient to Henry (unlike Anne who loved to argue with him and Catherine who refused to give him his own way). She was pretty much Henry's absolute favorite because she bore him an heir... and died soon after. She was much mourned by Henry and was remembered very fondly... possibly because she didn't have enough time while alive to annoy him in one way or another. She was even painted into a family portrait during one of Henry's subsequent marriages. What the heck? I would've been pissed if I were that wife.

RBL Catherine H
Second favorite from the collection. I love this slightly greyed out medium blue. It's chock full of chunks of purple and blue shimmer. Also a great two coater that went on super easily. I may only keep this one and Jane from the collection. This was taken after about 36 hours of wear with Gelous and Diamont: as you can see, no chips and very little tipwear.

Closeup of Catherine H
Apparently, Catherine Howard was kind of a ditz. Unlike her cousin Anne Boleyn, it's probable that she cheated on Henry -- which is extremely idiotic, given this man's propensity for divorce (or rather, annulment) and beheading. She was much loved while she was in the king's good graces -- apparently, "young, pretty and vivacious" are attractive qualities to middle aged men -- but when he found out she hadn't been faithful... yeah, off with her head. It is said that she spent the night before her execution practicing how to position her head on the chopping block.

I don't mind so much that RBL left off Catherine Parr... after reading about the other five more interesting wives, I was sort of bored by the sixth. But come on... no Anna of Cleves? The ONE political marriage Henry made -- if you don't count Catherine of Aragon, whose marriage to Arthur was political but whose marriage to Henry was not quite as much -- and he couldn't *cough* get it up for her. She ended up with an annulled marriage... but got a boatload of compensation for it. Instead of returning to Cleves, she stayed in England as the King's "much beloved sister" and got a ton of property and money. Her position in society was second only to the queen and the daughters of the king. If I could choose a color for her, it'd be some very luxe shade: maybe a rich, multifaceted gold to represent how well she did for herself eventually. :)

History is so much fun to me. If I hadn't been a psychologist, I might have considered being an historian. There's nothing I like better than to hold and examine old documents, to piece together a story from many different sources. Most of my leisure reading falls under either history or sociology: mostly, trying to understand particular groups of people in particular places. I love being immersed in different worlds through reading.

October 3rd (65m cardio -- I was watching a cake challenge on Food Network and doing some reading and simply lost track of time)

Like this? Click below to let us know!


Janice said...

Loved this post! Your descriptions of the wives cracked me up and was very informative as well. I am glad to see RBL Jane on an tanned Asian like myself - I wasn't sure if I wanted this one but now I will have to add it to my wish list!

Piff said...

Fabulous post! Loved every bit.

Great swatches too. I guess I only need Jane come sale time.

myclumsyheart said...

Love all the fun history you added after each of the swatches! These are gorgeous polishes and your pictures definitely captured that.

Let them have Polish! said...

Catherine is the most beautiful to me. Blues are the best!

Grace said...

I have catherine and anne and I love them both!

BTW - You should read Alison Weir's books on the wives of Henry VIII. Jane wasn't such a wallflower. She was very ambitious, a supporter of the Catholic cause in England and of the King's first daughter, the Lady Mary, not to mention complicit in the arrest and execution of an innocent woman. She knew what she was doing.

Anonymous said...

I need Catherine and Anne, seriously I need them! and Catherine is so "me", my name with my love for purples!! Pure love!

Kathy said...

When RBL does a sale, I'll get Catherine, Catherine H, and Anne. Wish they had done all the wives. I've always been fascinated with that part of English history. I can imagine Catherine Parr as a deep, rich black (as in widow).

Pins and said...

Anne Boleyn didn't give it up until marriage? According to Wikipedia. the wedding was Jan 25, and Elizabeth was born Sept 7. Possible--but questionable, like all six-week "early" first babies are.

Sarah said...

The wives of King Henry are so interesting to read about! I read The Other Bolyn Girl and got totally sucked in. Henry was just outrageous, really. He was just a spoild little boy until the day he died. And I just love how he was obsessed with having a son, and then Elisabeth turned out to be a ruler of epic proportions.
Ok now I totally want to read more! Library trip!
Oh, uh.....the nail polish is pretty too! LOL

flinty said...

@Janice: happy to help! I always feel like nude-beige shades like that are such a crapshoot for me because there's no way to know what it'll look like until I put it on... or unless I see it on someone who I know has a similar skintone to me.

@Piff: aww, thanks! Though I don't think the Tudors will be on sale. :(

@myclumsyheart: Yay, I'm glad people enjoyed the historical ramble I added. :)

@Let them have polish: I love it too. :)

@Grace: Actually, I knew about the Catholic cause and Lady Mary (though I find it strange that she would champion Catholicism while being married to Henry). But thanks for reminding everyone that nuance is important when talking about historical figures!

@Katie: They're not my faves but if you like them, you should definitely get them!

@kathy: Ooh, black... maybe with some sort of shimmer (like the other four polishes). I think that'd be great for Catherine Parr. Unfortunately, I don't think the Tudors will be included in the Cyber Monday sale. :(

@Pins: LOL, good catch! I should've written a caveat saying that it wasn't until she was reasonably sure that she would be married. :) Because he did court her for quite awhile (and she'd continually refuse to be his mistress) before he married her.

flinty said...

@Sarah: I would definitely recommend the Antonia Fraser bio of Henry's six wives. It's very readable. (And yes, I do sort of agree with you about Henry being a spoiled brat. And all for a son! He had plenty of able daughters... as history has shown. ;))

Kathy said...

@ Flinty - Not part of the cyber Monday sale?

BOOM! {me hitting the floor}

I'm o.k. I just may have to break my rule of no polish above $5 or BOGO.

Grace said...

@flinty & kathy - I think Ji Baek mentioned on the RBL facebook page that the new colors were specifically excluded from the November sale. Better to pick them up now while they last!

Paillette said...

These are such a grave disappointment!! I've got old SH shimmers with more life in them!
Maybe a wallet relief, too.

Zara said...

These are all very pretty, but I think Catherine H is my favorite...and I love the history behind the names!

flinty said...

@flinty: yup, I believe it's excluded. :( Ji Baek announced it on Facebook not so long ago. (And as for breaking your rule... well, rules were meant to be broken!)

@grace: Although I don't know that RBL has ever permanently discontinued a popular color... even when Scrangie and No More War ran out, she got more in...

@paillette: Definitely wallet relief.

@zara: I'm glad you enjoyed the history. I had fun reading about it (and then trying to summarize it in five sentences or less for this post). ;)

Chantal said...

Love the Catherine H swatch :)

After reading your rhyme, I couldn't get this song out of my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fadCAHjN-s


Lucy said...

Thanks you not only for the lovely swatches but for the history of these ladies. I watched the Tudor's and really enjoyed the series. I enjoyed your amusing descriptions also.

Hebridean Sprite said...

I was really disappointed that they didn't do all the wives either. I mean if you're going to do his wives, do the whole set! Anyways lovely colours!

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