King Henry VIII (1491-1547)
studio of Hans Holbein the younger (Augsburg 1497/8 - London 1543)
This is a superbly executed, but not an autograph, repetition of the figure of the King from The Whitehall Mural by Hans Holbein the Younger, from the fresco of 1537. This was on the wall of the Privy Chamber (originally Henry VIII’s Privy Chamber) at Whitehall, before it was destroyed by fire in 1698. Its fidelity to the lost original includes the rucked-up carpet on the right, which it alone of the copies and derivatives includes, despite its making no sense in the absence of the stepped platform of the whole composition. It is, however, a strong indication that the picture was painted in Holbein’s studio.
Oil painting on oak panel, King Henry VIII (1491-1547), studio of Hans Holbein the younger (Augsburg 1497/8 - London 1543), circa 1543/47. Inscribed on the front: bottom left, in gold paint: Henry 8; and, bottom right, in gold paint: 135. A full-length portrait, facing, standing, feet apart, elbows squared, wearing dark green surcoat with ermine collar, bejewelled cloth of gold tunic, and white hose and pale biscuit coloured shoes; a flat black cap with white plume. A pair of gloves in right hand, his left hand is holding the chain of his dagger. Architectural background with red and gold shell-topped apsidal niche. He stands on a red Turkey rug, heaped up at the right. Another, inferior, version in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool was once owned by Henry Danby Seymour (1820–1877), of East Knoyle, a descendant of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, the Protector (?1506–1552), who was brother of Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, and uncle of their son, Edward VI, as was Charles, 6th Duke of Somerset (1662–1748) who once owned this picture. The fragment from the cartoon for The Whitehall Mural by Hans Holbein the Younger, mounted on canvas was transferred from Chatsworth, having hung previously at Hardwick Hall (NT) to the National Portrait Gallery in 1957.
Almost certainly commisioned by Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (elder brother of Queen Jane and guardian of Edward VI); in the collection of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset (1662-1748) - first recorded by George Vertue at Petworth in 1721 and thence by descent, until the death in 1952 of the 3rd Lord Leconfield, who had given Petworth to the National Trust in 1947, and whose nephew and heir, John Wyndham, 6th Lord Leconfield and 1st Lord Egremont (1920-72) arranged for the acceptance of the major portion of the collections at Petworth in lieu of death duties (the first ever such arrangement) in 1956 by HM Treasury.
Petworth House, The Egremont Collection (acquired in lieu of tax by HM Treasury in 1956 and subsequently transferred to the National Trust)
Marks and inscriptions
Verso: Label: 'cleaned by E. Holder in 1934; treated at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, 2001/2: surface cleaned; two layers of varnish removed; brush varnished; losses filled; retouched with egg tempera and dry pigments; spray varnish layer applied (see treatment reports on file for further information).
Makers and roles
studio of Hans Holbein the younger (Augsburg 1497/8 - London 1543), artist Rowland Lockey (c.1565 – London 1616), artist
Temporary loan of Henry VIII, National Portrait Gallery, London, 2015
Vertue 1930 George Vertue, 1930: Notebooks’, vol.I, The Walpole Society, Oxford, Vol.XVIII (1929–30), Vol.XVIII (1929–30), p.97 (B.L. Add. MS.23, 069: V.9 B.M.14.) [visit of 1721] Waagen 1854-7 Gustav Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, 3 vols. (translated by Lady Eastlake) with a supplementary volume: Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, London, 1854-7, vol. 3, 1854, p.41 Collins Baker 1920 C.H.Collins Baker, Catalogue of the Petworth Collection of Pictures, in the possession of Lord Leconfield, privately printed by the Medici Society, London, 1920, p.58 Millar 1963 Oliver Millar, The Tudor, Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, London 1963, 2 vols Strong 1969 Roy Strong, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London 1969 [2 vols], vol.I, pp.158-9 Holbein in England (ed. Susan Foister), Tate Britain, 28 September 2006 – 7 January 2007, p.118, under cat. no.131 Les Tudors (Ed. Charlotte Bolland et Cecile Maisonneuve), Musee du Luxembourg, Paris, 18th March to 19th July 2015, cat 38, pp.12, 34, 48-49, 184 Remastered - Bosch to Bellotto: An Exhibition of Petworth's European Old Masters (exh cat) (Andrew Loukes) Petworth House, West Sussex, 9 January - 6 March 2016, cat. 14