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Jane Seymour

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jane Seymour

after Hans Holbein the Younger
oil on panel, circa 1537
25 1/4 in. x 18 7/8 in. (640 mm x 480 mm) overall
Purchased, 2016
Primary Collection
NPG 7025

Sitterback to top

  • Jane Seymour (1508 or 1509-1537), Third Queen of Henry VIII. Sitter associated with 14 portraits.

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 unfinished portrait appears to be a contemporary version of the key image of Jane Seymour, which was painted by Holbein in 1536 after a sitting from the life (Royal Collection and Kunsthistorisches Museum). She is depicted at half length, wearing a red velvet gown with cloth of gold sleeves and an English style gable headdress. The dimensions are very similar to Holbein’s painting and the wooden panel boards are constructed from a tree felled in the 1530s (unlike the Gallery’s other portraits after Holbein, which date to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century). The flesh tones have been fully worked up but the rest of the portrait is unfinished, with underdrawing clearly showing through in the jewels and only a tonal base layer applied in the headdress and sleeves. The painting may have been left unfinished following Jane’s sudden death.

Events of 1537back to top

Current affairs

Prince Edward (later King Edward VI) is born at Hampton Court. His mother, Jane Seymour dies twelve days later.
Leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace popular rising against Church reforms and enclosure are captured and executed.
The English translation of the Bible by Miles Coverdale becomes the first complete Bible to be printed in England.

Art and science

The German artist Hans Holbein the Younger paints a dynastic portrait of King Henry VIII, his third wife, Jane Seymour, and his parents, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, on a wall of the privy chamber in Whitehall Palace (destroyed in the fire of 1698).


Francis I of France and Suleiman I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire agree to act together against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
Christian III, King of Denmark and Norway introduces Lutheran Protestantism as the state religion.

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