WCW: Claire Foy


With her star turns as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall and Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, British actress Claire Foy has become a key actress for period films. Let’s take a look at her surprisingly long resume!



Little Dorrit (2008)

An adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. I’ll admit, I haven’t watched it because it looks like more poor people being poor in drab bonnets.

Little Dorrit (2008)

These are great costumes for their economic class, if I ignore the bangs! But they don’t make me go “oooo”

Little Dorrit (2008). Amy Dorrit

Despite those annoying bangs, Foy really suits the period. She’s got that consumptive look!

Little Dorrit (2008). Amy Dorrit




Upstairs Downstairs (2010-12)

As the scheming, glamorous younger sister, Persephone, in this 1930s-set sequel to the classic series.

2010-12 upstairs downstairs

She knows how to dress!

2010-12 upstairs downstairs

She pulls off this menswear look SO well.

2010-12 Upstairs Downstairs

And she can bring the GLAM!



Season of the Witch (2011)

Her very first film role, as the titular witch in this allegedly 13th-century-set supernatural/action/adventure film starring Nicolas Cage. Which sounds truly dire.

2011 Season of the Witch

Witches love chunky knits?



The Night Watch (2011)

An adaptation of a Sarah Waters novel about lesbians in World War II London.

2011 The Night Watch

Sure, fine?

2011 The Night Watch

I like the tweedy suits!

2011 The Night Watch




White Heat (2012)

A BBC miniseries that follows seven students who first meet while sharing a flat. Each episode covers a different year, from 1965 to 1990.

2012 White Heat 2012 White Heat



Crossbones (2014)

I have many questions about this, with John Malkovich starring as Blackbeard the Pirate

2014 Crossbones

Like, she’s wearing a sheer shirt/dress and a ??? corset ??? made of some weird upholstery fabric? (Photo by: Francisco Roman/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

2014 Crossbones

This picture isn’t clearing anything up (Photo by: Francisco Roman/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)



The Great War: The People’s Story (2014)

A docu-drama about World War I. Foy plays Helen Bentwich, politician and philanthropist who, during the war, helped organize the Women’s Land Army.

2014 The Great War- The People's Story

Beautiful embroidery and a very natural-looking ensemble.

2014 The Great War- The People's Story

I loved the embroidery so much I needed to include another shot!



Wolf Hall (2015)

As Anne Boleyn in this Thomas Cromwell-focused series. I thought she made a great Anne, given what she was given in the script. She DEFINITELY has the “kind of weird, but beautiful” look that I think Anne probably had.

Wolf Hall, Anne Boleyn

Hair is up! Veils are worn!

Wolf Hall (2015)

Her coronation dress.

Wolf Hall (2015)

More coronation, with very obvious pregnancy.

wolf hall 2015

The wrinkles, I know, but that’s lovely satin and I love the pin and embroidery!



The Crown (2016-20)

As Queen Elizabeth II the younger in this bio-series.
2016 The Crown

Another coronation dress!

The Crown

Rocking the tiara and the furs…

2016 The Crown

Wedding dress with tons of embroidery and pearls.

2016 The Crown

A casual look for Scotland.



Breathe (2017)

A film about a real-life man who was paralyzed by polio in the late 1950s. Foy plays his supportive wife.
2017 Breathe 2017 Breathe



First Man (2018)

As Janet Armstrong, wife of astronaut Neil in this film about the lead up to the Apollo 11 moon mission.

'First Man' Film - 2018

That hair and dress? Romper? is spot on for the era, but I don’t have to like it | Photo by Daniel McFadden/Universal/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

'First Man' - 2018

So gamin, so unflattering.


The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

As the wife of an artist in late 19th-century England.

2021 The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Dreamy artsy sequence?

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

Cats are central to the film!



A Very British Scandal (coming soon)

Foy will play Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, who went through a scandalous divorce in 1963.

2021 A Very British Scandal

DAMN. The hair! The lipstick! The fur!

2021 A Very British Scandal

Enjoying herself too much? Apparently the pearls were her trademark.

2021 A Very British Scandal

Ooo, I love the two different shades of green together.




What’s your favorite of Claire Foy’s historical costume roles?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

19 Responses

  1. Vianne

    Little Dorrit is SO good, and there are some pretty dresses, and fortunes made and lost, and family mysteries, and Matthew MacFadyen is swoon. And a lot is actually said with the costuming and hair. Well worth a binge watch.

    • Lisa Joseph

      Seconded. “Dorrit” is one of those Andrew Davies’ adaptations – he also did “Bleak House” – that’s well written and beautifully cast – and costumed. Foy’s character spends a lot of time in “poor clothes” until the family fortune changes, but there are other characters from other classes and outrageous 1830s dresses and hair make several appearances, such as this red thing Polly Walker is wearing. https://wgbh.brightspotcdn.com/4c/49/69e273c64c2eaac2015ad14d095c/kudmgav-asset-mezzanine-16×9-rvjvrai.jpg

      • adilette

        Mater Merdle… she’s not played by Polly Walker, it’s Amanda Redman and she’s a blast in this. Especially when she exchanges teethy niceties with Fanny Dorrit, who is an absolute scene stealer as well. And even in drab, guttery moments, the colourful production design helps the series not falling into visual Dickensian despair. So, yes, another second in favour of the series. It’s SO good. The only Dickens adap I was actually touched by now and then. It also made me realize that I must have a definite weakness for pretty buffoons… One lives and learns.

  2. Constance

    I liked her Little Dorrit…not all “poor” clothng plus I like Matthew McFadden a lot…also liked her in Louis Wain a lot. Overall she always adds to a show.

  3. Michael McQuown

    Wolf Hall. Trouble is, I seem to have missed so many frock flicks. I did just see a clip from the new “Cyrano.” The costumes suck.

  4. susan l eiffert

    It looks like that entire dress in Crossbones is made of that sheer blue georgette or whatever it was. If such a fabric was even made back then, can you imagine the expense and time in processing it and then putting the garment together? Not exactly weather-friendly either. Ridiculous.

  5. Heather Ripley

    I really enjoy her performances – she has a perfect face for so many roles. And now I realize I need to check out a few more. I appreciate the heads up to avoid Crossbones too – yikes what a mess!.

    My favorite Claire Foy film/show so far is a toss up between Wolf Hall and Upstairs Downstairs. UD is probably the winner as I adore the clothing and glamour of the 1930s. She was so good at being bad in both roles!

  6. Karen B Hayes

    Claire Foy is excellent whether she’s portraying oh-so-sweet and humble Amy Dorrit or arch-bitch Anne Boleyn (still bothered by those crappy French hoods, flimsy veils and wrinkly bodices tho’).

  7. Charity

    I adore Little Dorrit. I’ve seen it at least six times and given how long it is, that’s an accomplishment. Seen most of these films — plus her terrific and hilarious Arabella Dearheart in their wacky adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal. I haven’t seen Crossbones… but I think I might have to now. Procrastinating on the Louis Wain movie, because… I know the second half is gonna be depressing. :P

  8. SarahV

    Quibble – that last image of the green coat and hat is from the Crown.

    I generally adored her Anne Boleyn and her style and verve and, let’s be honest, affected Frenchiness (“Cremuel”) but the hoods in that series are all sorts of wrong. They’re just wide headbands.

  9. Roxana

    Those Anne Boleyn costumes are DIRE!! But yes, at least her hair is upl
    Margaret Campbell was a real piece of work. But then the Duke seems to have no better. A lot of scandal in the Argyll line from the 8th duke down.

  10. Cindi Aune

    She is positively luminous in Little Dorrit, such a perfectly horrid spoiled brat in Upstairs, Downstairs, brilliant in The Crown and as Anne Boleyn she held her own against Mark Rylance.
    She’s just a great actor.

  11. Flynn Lord

    a very lazy, wanting, portrayal of the duchess of Argyle. She real duchess was much older and MUCH MUCH more elegant


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