Back in February 2014, we took delivery of a sample of our Henry VIII rubber duck, which we worked with the company Yarto to design. We all thought he was lovely, so our digital marketing team grabbed a few snaps of him, and to whet your appetites, put his photo (left) online, expecting a few likes and maybe a couple of comments. Within half an hour, the picture had been shared 46 times, which then doubled in the next hour. Closing time the next day, it had gone up to 216, and had been seen by 29,319 people.
When the duck actually arrived a few months later, it sold unbelievably well, and remains one of our best-selling lines, but he seemed a bit lonely without a wife, so we got to work!
When it came to choosing which wife, there was no doubt that it had to be Anne Boleyn; whatever you think of her, she is the most popular of Henry’s wives, and with her ‘B’ necklace she’s also the easiest to make identifiable.
While people might think Jane Seymour might have been better as his favourite, or Catherine Parr, who was Henry’s wife when the Mary Rose sank, how do you show it as being them?
We also decided, despite the suggestions of pretty much everybody, to portray her with her head attached to her neck. While we admit she is famous for her execution, firstly we want a depiction of how she was during her life, as a duck depicting a decapitated corpse is something we don’t really think is suitable for a family audience, and secondly a two-part duck would be much more expensive to produce, not to mention the potential choking hazard it might create!
Ultimately, what we ended up with, after several design reviews, is the lovely Anne Boleyn Duck that arrived in the museum shop today, and we’re sure she’ll prove just as popular as her husband did, if not more!
Get your Anne Boleyn Duck now at maryroseshop.org/anneboleynduck, all proceeds from the sale of this duck go to help fund the conservation of the Mary Rose and her artefacts.