Master Painting Week – Tudor Portraits

At the end of June I visited Tudor and Stuart Exhibitions at The Weiss and Philip Mould Galleries. Their Royal Portraiture Exhibitions were part of London Master Paintings Week, which ran from 29th June – 6th July.

Weiss Gallery

At The Weiss Gallery were portraits of Jane Seymour, King Edward and Catherine Carey(eldest daughter of Elizabeth I’s first cousin, Henry Carey.

Jane Seymour
Presumably commissioned by her brother Edward Seymour

‘This rare image of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s one true love, and mother of the future King Edward VI, descended directly within the family at the Savenake estate until 2011.

Jane’s premature and tragic death in October 1537 after giving birth to the male heir Henry VIII so craved for, having been Queen for a mere 17 months has meant her portraiture is very sparse – indeed she is not even represented in the National Portrait Gallery.

Dendrochronology has revealed that its panel has a last tree ring from 1519, which gives a probably felling date of 1523-1539. This suggests a dating of the portrait to c. 1536-1540s, either before, or just after Jane’s death in 1537.’

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King Edward VI
Studio of William Scrots

‘The present version likely dated from circa 1547-1549 in the aftermath of the young King’s ascension on 28th January 1547. William Scrots had taken on the mantle of the ‘King’s painter’ from Holbein in 1545.’

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italics = © Weiss Gallery

Philip Mould Gallery

At the Phillip Mould Gallery there were portraits of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Elizabeth I and Katherine Parr.

Royalty and Power in British Portraiture

‘This exhibition shows how important portraiture was to royalty in Britain, from the Tudors to the Victorians, and how the role of the royal image change over the centuries.

Our first exhibits demonstrate how the Tudors used portraiture to reinforce power.’

Henry VIII
English School
16th century

‘This powerful image derives from the Whitehall mural, sadly now destroyed. This work is by an unknown artist working in the 16th century.’

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Edward VI
Workshop of Guillim Scrots

‘This portrait of Edward VI is the last likeness painted during his reign. It was painted in the workshop of Guillim Scrots, Holbein’s successor as the Tudor court’s artist. Only 3 examples of this portrait type are known, the others being in the Louvre, Paris and the Los Angeles Museum of Art.’

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Katherine Parr
English School
16th century

This portrait of Henry VIII’s last Queen also featured in the ‘Henry’s Women’ exhibition at Hampton Court Palace in 2009.

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Elizabeth I
English School
c. 1558

‘This portrait is the earliest likeness of Elizabeth as Queen, and was painted at the time of her accession to the throne in 1558. Here, Elizabeth has consciously portrayed herself as a devout woman of learning, with sombre dress, a prominent prayer book, and only one of the most prominent Tudor jewels to mark her status as Queen.

This picture is painted on top of another, slightly earlier portrait of Elizabeth in which she is presented face onto the viewer, in the confrontational manner of her father’s portraits by Hans Holbein.’

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Italics = © Philip Mould Gallery

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