Hans Holbein Re-made: Copies and versions of portraits from the Tudor court

Past display archive
4 March - 26 August 2014

Room 3


Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
after Hans Holbein the Younger
early 17th century, based on a work of 1532-1533
NPG 1727

During Henry VIII’s reign Hans Holbein the Younger undertook many portraits of prominent individuals at court, such as Thomas Cromwell, Thomas More and William Warham. In the years that followed these images came to be prized not only as depictions of illustrious men, but also for Holbein’s skill as an artist. As a result they were frequently copied, with artists producing paintings that faithfully mimicked both the composition and colouration of the original portraits. The number of surviving works of this type suggest that there was a lively market for such paintings during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James VI and I.

This display will bring together a selection of the Gallery’s copies of Holbein’s portraits, all of which have undergone technical analysis as part of the Making Art in Tudor Britain project. This research has revealed new information about how and when they were made, and about the techniques that were used to ensure that the finished works skilfully evoked the originals.

© National Portrait Gallery, London