King Edward VI and the Pope
1 of 17 portraits of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
King Edward VI and the Pope
by Unknown artist
oil on panel, circa 1575
24 1/2 in. x 35 3/4 in. (622 mm x 908 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sittersback to top
- John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford (1486?-1555), Lord High Admiral. Sitter associated with 9 portraits.
- Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Archbishop of Canterbury. Sitter associated with 46 portraits.
- King Edward VI (1537-1553), Reigned 1547-53. Sitter associated with 47 portraits.
- King Henry VIII (1491-1547), Reigned 1509-47. Sitter associated with 95 portraits.
- John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland (1502?-1553), Lord Protector of Edward VI. Sitter in 6 portraits.
- Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (1506?-1552), Known as 'The Protector'; statesman. Sitter associated with 17 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Dendrochronological analysis shows that the panel on which this intriguing picture is painted comes from a tree that was felled between 1574 and 1590. The painting may well have been commissioned in defiance of Pope Pius V's excommunication of Elizabeth I in 1570 by the papal bull 'Regnans in excelsis', which released her subjects from their allegiance. This painting shows Henry VIII on his deathbed (left), pointing towards his successor Edward VI. To the right of Edward are members of his council including the Protector, Lord Somerset, and John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. In the inset (top right) is a scene of the destruction of holy images, and below Edward, the Pope is crushed by 'the worde of the Lord' - written in English. The blank white spaces may have been intended for further anti-Catholic inscriptions.
Conservation of this painting was supported by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Bolland, Charlotte; Cooper, Tarnya, The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered, 2014 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12th September 2014 to 1st March 2015), p. 85
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 20
- Cooper, Tarnya; Fraser, Antonia (foreword), A Guide to Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 2012, p. 5
- Gittings, Clare, The National Portrait Gallery Book of The Tudors, 2006, p. 15
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 20
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 41
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 41
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 719
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 21,294,344
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered (12 September 2014 - 1 March 2015)
Subjects & Themesback to top
Mediaback to top
Events of 1575back to top
Current affairsQueen Elizabeth I declines the offer of sovereignty of the Netherlands made by William of Orange, leader of the Dutch Protestant resistance to Spanish rule.The royal favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester hosts a lavish entertainment for the Queen at Kenilworth.
Art and scienceThe composers William Byrd and Thomas Tallis dedicate Cantiones Sacrae (Sacred Songs) to Queen Elizabeth I after receiving a royal patent for the exclusive right to publish music.
InternationalFacing bankruptcy, Philip II of Spain suspends all payments by the Spanish crown. Don Luis de Requesens can no longer pay his troops in the Netherlands.Akbar, Mughal Emperor of India, conquers Bengal.The Battle of Nagashino features the first decisive use of firearms in Japanese warfare.
Exhibitions and displays
- Framing the Face: Collars and Ruffs
Until 31 December
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Art Conservation Project
- WebQuest: Henry VIII's Next Wife?
- Kings and Queens: A Family tree
- Director’s Trail by Nicholas Cullinan
- Picturing History: A portrait set of early English kings and queens
- WebQuest: Henry VIII - Man Versus Myth
- Henry VIII Remembered
- Tudor pick up guides
- Return to Life: A New Look at the Portrait Bust
Buy a print
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