King Henry VI(1421-1471), Reigned 1422-61 and 1470-71
Sitter associated with 37 portraits
Henry VI descended from the royal house of Lancaster and succeeded to the throne at the age of nine months. A council ruled in his name during his minority. As an adult he suffered military defeats and territorial losses in France. Contemporary accounts indicate his personal instability and he was involved in constant power struggles. After losing the crown to the Duke of York (Edward IV) in 1461, he was imprisoned between 1465 and 1470. In 1470 the hapless king was briefly restored to the throne but was captured and perhaps murdered. He was the founder of Eton College and King's College, Cambridge. A posthumous cult, venerating him as a 'saint', flourished into Tudor times.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
by Charles Grignion
line engraving, mid 18th century
by G. Barrett, after Jan Gossaert (Mabuse)
line engraving, late 18th century