King Henry VI (1421–1471)
British (English) School
Henry VI was the son of Henry V (1387-1422) and Katherine (1401-1437), daughter of Charles VI, King of France. He succeeded his father as King of England on 1 September 1422, and his grandfather Charles VI of France, as King of France on 11 October 1422, taking both crowns aged just one year old, although he only assumed personal rule in November 1437. He was deposed in favour of Edward IV in 1461, but restored to the throne on 30 October, 1470, and deposed again in favour of Edward IV in 1471. He married Margaret of Anjou (1429-1482) in 1445, and they had one child, Edward, born in 1453 at the Palace of Westminster. Henry was murdered in 1471, having been imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was described by contemporaries as ‘tall in stature’, with a ‘handsome face’, and full of ‘goodness of heart’.
Oil painting on oak panel, King Henry VI (1421–1471), British (English) School, 16th century. A half-length portrait, turned alightly to the left, gazing to the left, wearing green doublet with scarlet sleeves, ermine collar and dark cap, chain and pendant jewel, his hands clasped in front. There is no authentic portrait from life, but the vast numbers of copies of the same portrait type current in the 16th century imply that there was once an original ad vivum likeness. The earliest copies known of the type are in the Royal Collection.
In Inventory of the contents of Hardwick Hall made in 1601 and attached to the will of Elizabeth Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury (c.1520-1608) and thence by descent until, following the death of Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire (1895 - 1950), Hardwick Hall and its contents were accepted by HM Treasury in part payment of death duties and transferred to the National Trust, in 1959
Hardwick Hall, The Devonshire Collection (National Trust)
Marks and inscriptions
top left HENRICUS top right VI
Makers and roles
British (English) School, artist
Strong 1969 Roy Strong, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London 1969 [2 vols], Roy Strong, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London 1969 [2 vols], p.147-148