Six Lives – Katherine Parr

Katherine Parr
attributed to Master John
circa 1545

II Petrarca con I’espositionne d’Alessandro Vellutello
(Petrach, with a commentary by Alessandro Vellutello)

Book, binding of purple velvet with applique and embroidery, 1544

Katherine Parr
Attributed to Master John
circa 1547

‘Katherine married Henry out of a sense of duty, later describing how ‘God… made me to renounce utterly my own will.’

Her religious conviction is presented in this portrait through her bracelets, which bear the phrase ‘LAUS DEUS’. This is a reference to Psalm 64 of the Vulgate Bible: ‘Tibi silens laus deus’ (Remaining silent, praise to you, O’God).

Painted in the period following Katherine’s near arrest for heresy, the inclusion of the bracelets seems to be a pointed choice.’

Letter from Katherine Parr to Henry VIII
25 July 1544

‘In the summer of 1544Katherine was appointed Regent in Henry’s stead while he was on campaign in France.
Written during her regency, this letter advises Henry ‘of the good diligence of your councillors here’ and is signed ‘Your grace’s most obedient and loving wife and servant, Kateryn the Queen KP’.

As the third woman who could call herself ‘Katherine the Queen’, Katherine chose to add a ‘KP’ monogram to assert her distinct Parr identity when she signed her name.’

‘Psalms or Prayers Taken Out of Holy Scripture
By Katherine Parr, 1544

‘This is a lavish copy of a collection of works by John Fisher and Desiderius Erasmus, including a ‘Prayer for me to say entering into battle’, which Katherine translated and had published in 1544 prior to the English campaign in France.

This appears to be Katherine’s personal copy, as it bears an inscription from Henry on the back of the title page which exhorts the reader to ‘remember this writer/ when you do pray/ for he is yours no one/ can say nay.’

Princess Mary Tudor
by Master John

Princess Elizabeth
Unidentified Artist
16th century

‘Elizabeth (1533-1603) and her half-sister Mary (1516-1558) were restored to the line of succession soon after Katherine’s marriage to Henry.’

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