The Historian Who First Identified John Blanke
Dr Sydney Anglo was the first to recognise the connection between the John Blanke depicted in the Art of the 1511 Westminster Tournament Roll and his references in the Archives in the accounts of John Heron Treasurer to Henry VII and Henry VIII.
John Blanke was brought to our attention as a footnote by Dr Sydney Anglo in the Bulletin of John Rylands Library xliii Volume 43 1960 - 1961 in an article entitled The Court Festivals of Henry VII: A Study Based Upon the Account Books of John Heron, Treasurer of the Chamber By Sydney Anglo, B.A., Ph.D. Research Fellow of the University of Reading the footnote read :
3 I believe this John Blank [sic] was , in fact, a Negro in the Great Roll of the Tournament at Westminster in February 1511, preserved at the College of Arms, a negro musician is twice depicted amongst the king’s trumpets. This I think was John Blank, the “blacke trumpet”.
Here Dr Anglo describes how he made the discovery:
My discovery that John Blanke, the ‘Blacke Trompette’ in [John] Heron’s Accounts was, in fact, depicted in the Great Tournament Roll of Westminster was purely the result of straightforward historical research in the very distant past ( the mid 1950s) when I was a postgraduate student preparing for a Ph.D thesis on Early Tudor Court Festivals under the supervision of Frances Yates at the Warburg Institute.
Dr Sydney Anglo
Private correspondence Dec 2012
Used with permission