King Henry VIII
King Henry VIII
after Hans Holbein the Younger
oil on copper, probably 17th century, based on a work of 1536
11 in. x 7 7/8 in. (279 mm x 200 mm)
Artistback to top
- Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 or 1498-1543), Painter, printmaker and designer; son of Hans Holbein the Elder. Artist associated with 308 portraits, Sitter associated with 25 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This portrait shows Henry VIII in his mid forties when he had already begun the process of dismantling monasteries and religious houses and had executed his second wife Anne Boleyn and the Bishop John Fisher. The portrait derives from a type establish by Hans Holbein the Younger, held in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. However this version painted on copper by a later artist may date from the late-sixteenth or early -seventeenth century.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 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. 2, 88 Read entry
The German artist Hans Holbein the Younger undertook a wide variety of work at the English court but it is for his portraits that he is most widely celebrated. This portrait is a version on copper after Holbein's small-scale portrait of Henry VIII, which survives in the Museo Nacional Tyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, and may have been made as a diplomatic gift.
- Clare Gittings, The National Portrait Gallery Book of Elizabeth I, 2006, p. 1
- Parris, Matthew, Heroes and Villains: Scarfe at the National Portrait Gallery, 2003 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 30 September 2003 to 4 April 2004), p. 83
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 296
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 153
- Williamson, David, Kings and Queens, 2010, p. 83
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1536back to top
Current affairsAnne Boleyn miscarries a male child. She is accused of adultery and beheaded for High Treason. Henry marries Jane Seymour eleven days after the Anne's death.
The Act of Succession declares Mary and Elizabeth illegitimate.
The Act of Suppression marks the beginning of the dissolution of the monasteries.
Pilgrimage of Grace popular rising against Henry VIII's Church reforms and the economic effects of enclosure.
Art and scienceThe German artist Hans Holbein the Younger makes a large preparatory drawing, (cartoon) of King Henry VIII for the Whitehall Palace wall painting.
InternationalThe French Protestant reformer Jean Calvin publishes Institutio Christianae Religionis (Institute of the Christian Religion), the founding text of the Calvinist churches.
The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V invades Provence and besieges Marseille
Francis I of France conquers Savoy and Piedmont.
Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.
William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.
Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.
- Making History: Printed Portraiture in Tudor and Stuart Britain
- NPG D48089 in 360°
- NPG D48093 in 360°
- Director's Trail by Nicholas Cullinan
- Picturing History: A portrait set of early English kings and queens
- Henry VIII Remembered
- Kings and Queens: A Family tree
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Art Conservation Project
- Tudor pick up guides
- Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs
- Henry VIII and versions of the non-Holbein portraits
- Loans to the National Gallery
- Tudor Miniatures
- Tints, texture and original intent, in four after-Holbein portraits
- Technique and effects of the after-Holbein copyists
- Holbein and his copyists
- The contexts for the production and demand for painted versions and copies in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints