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King Henry VII

1 of 66 portraits of King Henry VII

King Henry VII, by Unknown Netherlandish artist, 1505 - NPG 416 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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King Henry VII

by Unknown Netherlandish artist
oil on panel, 1505
16 3/4 in. x 12 in. (425 mm x 305 mm) arched top
Purchased, 1876
Primary Collection
NPG 416

On display in Room 1 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

  • King Henry VII (1457-1509), Reigned 1485-1509. Sitter associated with 66 portraits.

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This portraitback to top

This impressive portrait is the earliest painting in the National Portrait Gallery's collection. The inscription records that the portrait was painted on 29 October 1505 by order of Herman Rinck, an agent for the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I. The portrait was probably painted as part of an unsuccessful marriage proposal, as Henry hoped to marry Maximilian's daughter Margaret of Savoy as his second wife. The frame is integral with the panel painting and thus original, being made out of a single piece of oak, but for an applied soft wood moulding forming the outer element of the arched top. Gessoed and water gilt, the gilding modern (later black paint on outer moulding removed, 1972), 1 1/8 in. (29 mm) wide.

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Events of 1505back to top

Current affairs

Prince Henry (later Henry VIII) raises objections to marrying his late brother's wife, Catherine, despite the Pope's permission.

Art and science

King Henry VII's portrait is painted. It is the earliest portrait in the National Portrait Gallery collection.


A Portuguese armada, led by Francesco d'Almeida, attacks the east African ports of Kilwa and Mombasa in a bid to monopolise spice trade.

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