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Painting the Boy King: New Research on Portraits of Edward VI

Past display archive
24 May - 7 December 2008

Room 2

Free

King Edward VI
by Unknown artist, after William Scrots
circa 1546
NPG 442

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

This display presents some of the early results of scientific research into the Gallery's collection of Tudor paintings.

Edward VI came to the throne at the age of nine but died from tuberculosis shortly before his sixteenth birthday. Despite his short life, a surprising number of portraits exist showing him as both Prince of Wales and King. The large numbers of portraits partly reflect his importance as the only son and male heir of Henry VIII and the champion of the Protestant religion.

Four portraits of Edward VI have recently been scientifically examined to explore the circumstances of their production and when they were made. Some of the results presented in this display reveal different ways that artists were experimenting in order to present a nine-year-old boy as a powerful and believable ruler.

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