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Unknown woman, formerly known as Margaret Tudor

1 of 8 portraits of Margaret Tudor

Unknown woman, formerly known as Margaret Tudor, by Unknown French artist, circa 1520 - NPG 1173 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Unknown woman, formerly known as Margaret Tudor

by Unknown French artist
oil on panel, circa 1520
17 3/8 in. x 14 in. (441 mm x 356 mm)
Purchased, 1898
Primary Collection
NPG 1173


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Sitterback to top

  • Margaret Tudor (1489-1541), Queen of Scotland. Sitter associated with 8 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

The National Portrait Gallery acquired this portrait as Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII and wife of James IV of Scotland. However, both the style and the lack of any securely identified portraits of Margaret Tudor make this identification unlikely.
The painterly technique suggests a French or possibly Flemish origin. The woman's costume is also in the style of French court dress of the early sixteenth century. Her gold jewellery and the stylised pomegranate and leaf pattern, commonly reproduced on expensive silks of the period, hint at her noble status. Recent microscopic examination of her medallion has revealed a horseman hunting with a falcon. Falconry and courtly love were frequently linked in medieval literature, so it is possible that this woman is wearing a love token.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cooper, Tarnya (introduction) Banville, John (character sketch) Chevalier, Tracy (character sketch) Fellowes, Julian (character sketch) McCall Smith, Alexander (character sketch) Pratchett, Terry (character sketch) Singleton, Sarah (character sketch) Trollope, Joanna (character sketch) Waters, Minette (character sketch), Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from December 2011 - June 2012), p. 65
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 688
  • Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 205

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top