The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

First Previous 1 OF 48 NextLast

King Edward VI

1 of 48 portraits of King Edward VI

© National Portrait Gallery, London

3 Likes voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Buy a print Buy a greetings card Make a donation Close
  • Buy a print
  • Buy greetings card
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

King Edward VI

after Hans Holbein the Younger
oil on panel, circa 1542
17 1/4 in. x 12 1/4 in. (438 mm x 311 mm)
Purchased, 1898
Primary Collection
NPG 1132

Sitterback to top

  • King Edward VI (1537-1553), Reigned 1547-53. Sitter associated with 48 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 or 1498-1543), Painter, printmaker and designer; son of Hans Holbein the Elder. Artist or producer associated with 308 portraits, Sitter associated with 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Edward's importance as the heir to the throne meant that numerous portraits of him were commissioned. There is therefore a far more complete record of his physical appearance as a child than of his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth. The painting shown here is based on a likeness captured in a drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger. This appears to have been copied and the pattern would have circulated among artists' workshops in order to produce numerous other portraits. Conservation treatment has revealed a small bug trapped in a varnish layer, possibly from the eighteenth century. Conservation of this painting was supported by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 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. 71
  • Cannadine, Sir David (Introduction); Cooper, Tarnya; Stewart, Louise; MacGibbon, Rab; Cox, Paul; Peltz, Lucy; Moorhouse, Paul; Broadley, Rosie; Jascot-Gill, Sabina, Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, 2018 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA, 7 October 2018 -3 February 2019. Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia, 16 March - 14 July 2019.), p. 89 Read entry

    This image derives from a drawing by Holbein, made when the young prince was about five years old, and shows Edward with a steady frontal gaze that is notably direct. A number of versions of the painting survive, suggesting that Holbein's drawing was intended for wider circulation as a pattern that could be shared between artists' workshops.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 195
  • Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 88

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Mediaback to top


Events of 1542back to top

Current affairs

Catherine Howard is beheaded for committing adultery.
Relations between King Henry VIII and his nephew King James V of Scotland worsen. An English raid is defeated at Hadden Rig in August. The Scottish counter-attack is routed at Solway Moss in November.
Princess Mary Stuart is born to King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise. She becomes queen of Scotland six days later upon the death of her father.

Art and science

At about this date, the Welsh physician and mathematician Robert Recorde publishes The Grounde of Artes, the first mathematics book to be printed in English.


Pope Paul III establishes the Inquisition in Rome to investigate and prosecute those accused of heresy against Catholic orthodoxy. It is primarily concerned with halting the spread of Protestantism.
The Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier sails arrives in Goa in South India. He will introduce Christianity to India, Southeast Asia and Japan and is considered the most successful Catholic missionary.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.

Get Creative

Enter our Jubilee family competition

Submit your family’s recreation of a Royal portrait to win some Jubilee goodies

Enter now

Develop your art skills

Discover our BP Next Generation short films made by artists. Follow step by step guides in drawing and painting techniques.

Improve your skills

Hold Still

Hold Still photography workshop

Reflect on your own experiences of lockdown through this easy-to-do from home, photographic exercise. 

Watch the video

Draw Like a Renaissance Master

Revisit The Encounter exhibition and learn about Renaissance and Baroque drawing methods and materials.

Improve your technique