King Henry VIII (1491-1547) Reigned 1509-1547

Anglo-Flemish 16th century unknown

Oil on oak panel

c.1527-1550
  • About the work
    Location
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Downing Street

    In this half-length portrait, Henry VIII is depicted wearing a very fine linen shirt and an asymmetrical doublet with a low neck and gold brocade worn under a matching jerkin. The clothing, specific of the ‘Almain’ style and the accessories, are suitable for the period in which the portrait was made (i.e. 16th century). 

    While some scholars have pointed out that this may be one of the earliest surviving portraits of Henry VIII, painted in the first decade of his reign, others have contested this view and suggested that it may date from the end of the 16th century. A consensus, however has been reached in that it may have formed part of a set depicting European rulers of the early 16th century. 

    In his iconographic study of Henry VIII, Roy Strong classifies this portrait as ‘Type II’, of which it is one of two from the same pattern (in a private collection).The Latin inscription would suggest that the painting was produced for the European continent as it identifies Henry as the king of England.

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    Materials & Techniques
    wood panel, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Title
    King Henry VIII (1491-1547) Reigned 1509-1547
    Date
    c.1527-1550
    Medium
    Oil on oak panel
    Dimensions
    height: 47 cm, width: 33.3 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from the Weiss Gallery, March 2016
    Inscription
    across top: HENRICVS . ANGLORVM . REX . 1527 .
    Provenance
    Possibly with Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi (1878-1955); Achillito Chiesa Esq., Milan (after 1920); The Achillito Chiesa Collection Sale (Part IV), American Art Association Inc., New York, 22 November 1927, lot 35 (as School of Jean Gossaert Mabuse); William Randolf Hearst (1863-1951), New York; Gimbel Bros. Inc., New York, 1941; LeBaron S. Williard Jr., Maryland, Baltimore; Private collection, USA until 2014; The Weiss Gallery, London.
    GAC number
    18680