Double Take: Versions and Copies of Tudor Portraits
Past display archive
26 June - 6 September 2012
This display brings together five pairs of near identical portraits in order to explore how and why multiple versions and copies of portraits were made in the sixteenth century. Portraits of prominent Tudor sitters from the Gallery’s collection: Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Archbishop William Warham, the merchant Thomas Gresham and Lord Treasurer Thomas Sackville, are paired with portraits that have been generously loaned from other collections.
These portraits were produced to satisfy a demand for images of monarchs and prominent courtiers that often lasted long after the sitter’s death. Technical analysis undertaken as part of the Making Art in Tudor Britain project has used dendrochronology, infrared reflectography, x-radiography and photomicroscopy to explore the process by which these works were made and to discover which are contemporary versions of portraits, and which are later copies.
after Hans Holbein the Younger
early 17th century, based on a work of 1527
Portrait of William Warham, Lambeth Palace, By kind permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church Commissioners
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.
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