In the portraits we have of Katherine of Aragon dressing opulently, I cannot recognise any of her jewellery from portraits of Anne Boleyn, with the possible exception of the pearls. Lots of ladies at court had pearls, however, and these do look somewhat more dominating than the ones worn by Anne. That could be the technique of the painter, however.
«This portrait of Katherine is a version of a widely-circulated likeness that depicts the queen circa 1530 (a similar version is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston). Technical analysis has revealed that this portrait is not contemporary with the sitter and instead dates from the early eighteenth century, demonstrating a market for Tudor portraits during this period. 'Prussian blue', a pigment invented between 1704 and 1710 and only commercially available on a wide scale from the 1720s, was found to be present in the paint used for the background, the jewel of Katherine's headdress and in the sprig of foliage that she holds in her hand.»
«This is a version of a standard type of portrait of Katherine of Aragon which probably derives from an original portrait type associated with the artist Johannes Corvus (c. 1510-20). Other versions are in the National Portrait Gallery London, Merton College Oxford and at Petworth.»
«This small portrait of Henry VIII's first wife was presumably painted towards the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign to complete a set of Kings and Queens of England hanging in a patron's long gallery or library.»
«This bright and boldly painted image derives from the best known easel portrait of Katherine, that attributed to Jan Corvus, or Jan Rav (d. c.1544) now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This example, most probably painted in the 1560s (according to a dendrochronoligical analysis of the oak panel) would have formed part of a series of ‘corridor portraits’ in an important English house. In this case, given the inscription identifying Katherine as the wife of Henry VIII (as opposed to the mother of Queen Mary I), it was almost certainly commissioned as part of a set of Henry’s six wives.»
«Hollar must have copied her portrait from one of the miniatures of the queen attributed to Lucas Horenbout, such as the example now in the Buccleuch collection.»
The c.1502 Michael Sittow painting, which exists in at least two versions, could also fall under the category of Katherine of Aragon dressing 'opulently'. She is pictured wearing a heavy gold collar.
However, this is possibly the collar of gold that Katherine of Aragon bequeathed to her daughter Mary in her will. It would thus never have been in Anne Boleyn's possession and would thus not be expected to be found on any portraits of her.
Later edit: Actually, it would appear that Henry VIII kept the meagre belongings that were still to give for the woman who had been a daughter of kings, a Queen Consort, and his own beloved wife for 20 years. I would like to think well enough of Anne Boleyn that she still wouldn't have touched it. She grew markedly kinder towards Mary after her mother's death.
(Even later edit 07.03.2023: I again have to revise what would have been available to Anne Boleyn. It would appear that Mary got her mother’s bequests after all. Nicola Tallis writes:
«Katherine made two gifts of jewels, both to her daughter, Mary. The first was a cross necklace, followed by the more significant bequest: ‘the colar of gold whiche I brought [missing words] Spayne be to my doughter’. As discussed in the introduction, gold collars were popular during this period, but would soon go out of fashion. The importance of the jewellery though, lies in its sentimentality, for it was a treasured piece of Katherine’s that she had owned prior to her arrival in England. It was almost certainly an heirloom, perhaps inherited from Isabel of Castile, that Katherine had intended to pass to her daughter, and such bequests appear frequently in women’s wills. [...] The importance of the cross necklace lay in its religious associations, for Chaypus noted that ‘there are not 10 crowns worth of gold in the said cross nor any jewellery, but within is a portion of the true Cross’. [...] All of the arrangements regarding Katherine’s will were entrusted to Thomas Cromwell, who Chapuys reported had confirmed that ‘everything would be done as regards the Princess and the servants as honourably and magnificently as I could demand’. Presumably he was referring to the delivery of the jewels Katherine had bequeathed to her daughter, but a day later the circumstances had changed. It is unclear what necessitated this, but Chapuys related that Cromwell had said that ‘if the Princess wished to have what had been given her she must first show herself obedient to her father, and that I ought to urge her to be so’. Henry had evidently attempted to use Katherine's dying bequests to her daughter as a way of manipulating Mary into acknowledging that she was illegitimate. Clearly, he later changed his mind, as on 25 February Chapuys confirmed that Mary had received the cross.»All the Queen’s Jewels by Nicola Tallis)
In any case, it is a moot point, as Anne Boleyn is not pictured wearing the heavy gold chain of Katherine of Aragon’s widowhood in any portrait that I have seen, and the cross mentioned is certainly not the bejewelled Tau cross.
Only the medallion and NPG 4682 show Henry VIII’s first two wives in jewellery shared by the other wives.
After having written the above, however, I came across this portrait of Anne Boleyn:
«French portrait of Queen Anne Boleyn. A version of Anne's official portrait, which has been lost/destroyed. It might even have been painted by Holbein. The best known variation is the Elizabethan portrait in London's National Portrait Gallery.»
The heart-shaped brooch she is wearing does look like the one Katherine of Aragon is wearing in her Joannes Corvus-painting. Knowing nothing of the provenance of the painting however, it is impossible to know whether this was an element of the original portrait.
It appears to have been one of the many copies made from the NPG 668 – Hever Castle – John Hoskins miniature pattern.
With the benefit of having looked at many portraits since starting this site, I am instead inclined to believed that the copyists have «borrowed» the brooch from a portrait of Katherine of Aragon and given it to Anne Boleyn in an effort to spruce up her outfit. This can be seen in many copies from the workshops that were created to cover the demand for pictures. This is of course very evident in cases where we have both the original portraits and the copies and can compare.
Tellingly, the Anne Boleyn miniature by John Hoskins from the 17th century, painted after «an ancient original» does not feature the heart-shaped brooch.
From the Nidd Hall portrait and the Moost Happi medal it is clear that Anne dressed according to her status once she became Queen, however. It is one of life’s little ironies that most seem to think that the simpler fashions of her youth were far more elegant and striking.
This seems to be true today, and even seems to have been true in Elizabethan times, as it was those portraits that gained popularity.
Amusingly, the Anne Boleyn-with-a-heart-shaped-brooch concept appears to be a particular French tradition:
«Miniature French painting of Queen Anne Boleyn. I like this because it shows more of how she looked.»
At first I thought this was one of the many portraits produced ostensibly of Lady Jane Grey, but actually based on a portrait of Katherine Parr, but the text makes it clear that this is Anne Boleyn.
So, if our working hypothesis is that this particular miniature of Katherine of Aragon and the corresponding one of Henry VIII were in fact not painted in their lifetimes by Lucas Horenbout, but posthumously, in the reign of Mary I Tudor by Levina Teerlinc, then which miniatures are actually the work of Lucas Horenbout?
Anne Boleyn – Katherine Parr – Katherine of Aragon
I have never been fond of the miniature in the middle and have always dismissed it out of hand as a depiction of Katherine Parr. The same way fans of Anne Boleyn reject the first miniature as a representation of her.
However, put the three miniatures together and a pretty clear picture emerges:
Anne Boleyn – Katherine Parr – Katherine of Aragon.
Three Queens of England.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Mary I Tudor when a Princess
There is something almost dream-like about these miniatures, as if one is looking at them through a mist, or a foggy glass. They look like watercolours which have been left out in the rain.
I am fairly sure that these five miniatures are all by the same hand.
The technique and workmanship all appears to be the same.
Henry VIII by Lucas Horenbout/bolte – Miniature in the Louvre
This one doesn't look like a watercolour that has been left out in the rain in the slightest, nevertheless it is the work of Lucas Horenbout/bolte.
«Portrait miniatures such as this were initially developed to meet the demand for portable, dynastic images to serve as prized diplomatic gifts. A miniature of Henry VIII and one of his daughters, Princess Mary, was given to Francis I, King of France, in exchange for two miniatures of Francis I’s sons, which were sent to Henry VIII in the autumn of 1526.» The Royal Collection
Miniature of Henry VIII from Letters Patent for Thomas Foster , probably painted by Lucas Horenbout (or Hornebolte). Photograph by AndrewRT. National Art Library in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, bought with the assistance of the Friends of the National Libraries, National Art Library no. MSL/1999/6 (https://www.britannica.com/art/miniature-painting)
My suggestion is that these two miniatures were in fact painted by Lucas Horenbout or by somebody in his workshop.
The second one is technically not a miniature in our understanding of the word. It is not a loose portrait set in a locket.
The portrait miniature of Henry VIII from letters patent for Thomas Foster is one in which the King's image has been used to illustrate the letter 'H', the way we today might have seen it in a children's ABC book, with an 'S' taking the form a snake, for instance.
Lucas Horenbout was trained in the final phase of Netherlandish illuminated manuscript painting, in which his father Gerard was an important figure. (Lucas Horenbout – Alchetron)
It therefore makes perfect sense that the first of these miniatures, the miniature of Henry VIII from letters patent for Thomas Foster
«From the 1460s hand-written books had to compete with printed books. At the same time, however, wealthy patrons demanded a wider range of luxury goods. Miniaturists such as Simon Bening continued to illustrate expensive books, but also offered patrons independent miniatures. Some were for private worship, others simply desirable objects.» (Victoria and Albert Museum – A History of the Portrait Miniature)
Disposition of the miniatures in the rosewood cabinet in the Tribune, c.1784, watercolour,Lewis Walpole Library,
The cabinet of miniatures and enamels [art original].CreatorCarter, John, 1748-1817, artistPublished / Created[approximately 1790]Publication PlaceTwickenhamAbstract
Drawing of the cabinet of rosewood, designed by Horace Walpole himself, that was kept in the Tribune at Strawberry Hill. Three small statues of ivory stand on top of the pediment; Walpole's arms are centered within the pediment below. On the drawer below the cabinet doors is an image of a lion within an oval; two eagle heads flank the drawer on either side. The doors of the cabinet are open, with oval and square miniatures seen hanging within the cabinet and on the insides of the doors. Below the image is a scale bar
DescriptionTitle written in ink below image. Attribution to John Carter from local catalog card. Date of production based on probable date for Richard Bull's assembly of the extra-illustrated volume in which this drawing appears. See Hazen. Mounted on page 161 of Richard Bull's copiously extra-illustrated copy of: Walpole, H. A description of the villa of Mr. Horace Walpole. Strawberry Hill : Printed by Thomas Kirgate, 1784. See Hazen, A.T. Bibliography of the Strawberry Hill Press (1973 ed.), no. 30, copy 13. For further information, consult library staff.Extent1 drawing : sheet 32.6 x 28 cm
Vellum stuck to a playing card with parts of three spades verso. Circular, 34 mm, 1 3/8 in. diam., but now oval, 34 x 30 mm, 1 3/8 x 1 3/16 in. (the projection of the curve of the remainder of the original gold lines at top and bottom produce a circle).
A sparkling likeness of Edward VI as a child, certainly painted from life. Retouching is minimal but includes probably the heightening of the doublet. The long-awaited male heir to the throne was much painted (see Strong, Tudor and Jacobean, I, pp. 91–92), the earliest portrait being that by Holbein depicting the Prince at just over two years of age, presented to the King as a New Year’s Gift on January 1st 1539/40. This is followed by a portrait from about 1542, for which a drawing, not unanimously accepted as by Holbein, is at Windsor (Parker, Holbein, 1945, pl. 71). Hornebolte’s miniature falls between these two and records the fair, grey-eyed Prince at about the age of four, wearing a cameo jewel in his bonnet..
COLLECTIONS: Purchased from Colnaghi, 1844 (Buccleuch Archives).
LITERATURE: Kennedy, Buccleuch, pl. 22.» (Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered, 1520-1620 (1983) by Roy Strong, p. 41)
H. A. Kennedy includes also a frame on a miniature by Nicholas Hilliard in this group, though I cannot see much likeness.
This miniature was in the Buccleuch Collection in 1917, plate III, and until 1949, when it was bought by the Fitzwilliam Museum.
It was an image of Louise of Savoy which was in the Holbein Chamber at Strawberry Hill, and, as the entry reads:
«1774 Description: Katherine of Arragon, first wife of Henry 8th. by Holbein: it was in the collection of sir Robert Walpole, and has been engraved among the Illustrious Heads. (59)
1784 Description: Katherine of Arragon,* first wife of Henry 8th. by Holbein: it was in the collection of sir Robert Walpole, and has been engraved among the Illustrious Heads. * Vertue thought it to be Catherine duchess of bar, sister of Henry 4th of France, and so it probably is. (44)
Sale Text: A Portrait of Catherine of Arragon, first Queen of Henry VIII by Holbein This picture is very powerful in effect, it has been engraved by Vertue for the Illustrious Heads.
Provenance: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole to Horace Walpole; 1842, May 17, Strawberry Hill Sale, Day 20, Lot 31 bt Browne, £32.11.»
The Buccleuch miniatue was definitely in the Strawberry Hill Collection, for it, too, was engraved when it was part of the collection, but not as an Illustrious Head:
Plate from: Harding, S. Shakespeare illustrated, by an assemblage of portraits & views ... London : S. & E. Harding, 1793.
Mounted on page 173 of Richard Bull's copiously extra-illustrated copy of: Walpole, H. A description of the villa of Mr. Horace Walpole. Strawberry Hill : Printed by Thomas Kirgate, 1784. See Hazen, A.T. Bibliography of the Strawberry Hill Press (1973 ed.), no. 30, copy 13.
The British Museum also has a copy of this print, and writes: «Portrait of Katherine of Aragon; head and shoulders facing front and looking away to left, wearing decorated square-necked gown, necklaces and a gable head-dress with a full veil; in a rectangular frame; illustration to Harding's "Shakespeare Illustrated". 1791 Stipple» (Queen Katharine | The British Museum)
The British Museum writes in another entry: «The 'Shakespeare Illustrated by an assemblage of portraits and views, appropriated to the whole suite of our author's historical dramas; to which are added, portraits of actors, editors, &c.', was published by Sylvester and Edward Harding in 1793. It contained Shakespeare's works accompanied by a large number of illustrations (around 150), of characters,views related to the plays, and portraits of editors, critics and actors, biographies and an introduction on Shakespeare and the Globe theatre. A second edition was published by Edward Jeffery in 1811, with some additional illustrations (London, 2 vols., 8o.).» (Thomas Tyrwhitt, Esqr | The British Museum)
Horace Walpole himself wrote: «I have Katherine of Arragon, a miniature, exquisitely finished; a round on blue ground. It was given to the Duke of Monmouth by Charles II. I bought it at the sale of the Lady Isabella Scott, daughter of the Duchess of Monmouth. A head of the same queen on board in oil; hard, and in her latter age. It is engraved among the illustrious heads.» (Walpole, Anecdotes, ed. Wornum, 1849, I, p. 94)
Roy Strong writes this of the Buccleuch miniature:
14 ?Anne Boleyn, 1532–33
The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KT
Vellum stuck onto card, which has a relatively modern card glued over it at the back, circular, 41 mm, 1 5/8 in. diam.
Anne Boleyn (1507–36), daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, became Henry VIII’s mistress in 1527. He secretly married her in January 1533 and, after his marriage to Katherine was declared null, she was crowned. In September she gave birth to Elizabeth. Three years later she fell from favour and was executed.
There are two versions of this miniature. The second, in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, was attributed to Hornebolte by Reynolds. It is slightly larger and bears an inscription giving the age of the sitter as twenty-five. The Toronto miniature was called Jane Seymour and the Buccleuch version Katherine of Aragon and only subsequently Jane Seymour.
This identification as Jane Seymour is difficult to sustain. In the first instance, the features are at total variance with Hornebolte’s authentic miniature of her (no. 17) which corresponds exactgly to Holbein’s portraits. In addition, the age given on the Toronto miniature, twenty-five, would mean, if the date of Jane’s birth as 1509 is acceptable (it comes from a miniature by Hilliard (no. 107)) that the miniatures were painted before Henry’s marriage to her in May 1536 and about one fact there can be no doubt, it is a queen. Duplicates only exist of royal personages and the missing Queen from Hornebolte’s gallery is Anne Boleyn who was born in 1507 and would have been twenty-five in 1532–33. In 1533 she was crowned, gave birth to Elizabeth and was at the apogee of her influence. Her features, generally known through workshop versions of a lost original portrait (Strong, Tudor and Jacobean, II, pls. 8–9), are perfectly compatible with those in the miniature, although the clothes are different. Sanuto, the Venetian ambassador, states that her eyes were black but in her portraits they are brown, as in the miniature.
The condition of the miniature is good, although there is some restoration on the forehead and cheek and minor damage of various kinds to the blue background.
COLLECTIONS: Stated by Horace Walpole to have given by Charles II to the Duke of Monmouth; purchased at his daugther, Lady Isabella Scott’s sale; Strawberry Hill collection as Katherine of Aragon (A Description of the Villa at Strawberry Hill, 1774, p. 84); 14th Day of the Strawberry Hill sale, 10th May 1842 (lot 65); purchased by Mr W. Blamire; his sale 9th November 1863 (lot 137); purchased for the Buccleuch collection.
LITERATURE: Walpole, Anecdotes, ed. Wornum, 1849, I, p. 94 (as Katherine of Aragon).
The Cabinet of Enamels and Miniatures at Strawberry Hill
I first learned that Horace Walpole’s cabinet of enamels and miniatures is still in existence from Katherine Coombs’s book The Portrait Miniature in England. «Cabinet, designed by Horace Walpole probably in collaboration with William Kent, 1743. Kingwood with ivory (152 x 91 x 22 cm). In a letter of 1743 Walpole wrote of his ‘new cabinet for my enamels and miniatures’, including works by Hans Holbein and Isaac Oliver, which formed the centrepiece of a room devoted to art. W.52-1925» (The Portrait Miniature in England (1998) by Katherine Coombs, p. 10, figure 10)
The cabinet is today in the Victoria and Albert Museum:
Dr. Ruth Guilding, in connection with The Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill exhibit, sponsored by Bonhams, which ran from 20 October 2018 to 24 February 2019, writes in Strawberry Hill Forever in Bonhams Magazine about the craze Horace Walpole and his Strawberry Hill Collection created also in his own contemporaries.
The Tribune room with, at the back wall, Walpole’s cabinet of miniatures and enamels.
Photo Kilian O’Sullivan.
“The Tribune at Strawberry Hill,” circa 1789, drawing by John Carter. The rosewood cabinet in the center. The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.
EDITED TO ADD 29.01.2021
Technical analysis has now shown that the miniature of Henry VIII now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (PD.19-1949) and the Yale Miniature were painted by the same person.
I therefore add the miniature of Henry VIII now in the Fitzwilliam Museum to the ouevre of Levina Teerlink.
This is also very exciting, because while we before only had the hand lettering, now we actually have a technical analysis that links the miniatures of a lady with the 'emaciated thinness of the arms' with the miniatures of Henry VIII. I consider this a considerable strengthening of my theory.
(For a further discussion about Polly Saltmarsh’s article and the Yale Miniature, please see our page The Yale Miniature.)
EDITED TO ADD 12.03.2023
Roy Strong writes of the Fitzwilliam Miniature of Henry VIII:
5 Henry VIII, 1525–26
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Vellum stuck onto plain card, 33 x 48 mm, 2 1/8 x 1 7/8 in.
First attributed by T. H. Colding to Hornebolte in 1953, it was subsequently rightly designated by Reynolds as the “key piece” for the reconstitution of his oeuvre. The portrait, painted shortly after Hornebolte’s arrival in England, which is ad vivum, depicts Henry VIII in the thirty-fifth year of his age in 1525–1526 and is therefore one of the earliest, if not the earliest, surviving portrait miniature.
The border of intertwined H and K, for Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon and censing angels Colding pointed out, both stylistically and technically, can be paralleled directly in manuscripts of the Ghent-Bruges School (no. 3). This captures the portrait miniature at its emergent stage, though it quickly became an independent art form in its own right. The lettering, never Hornebolte’s strongest point, is typical in its clumsy placing and the doublet, which was once silver-grey, has tarnished due to the oxidization of the silver.
Two repetitions with variant costume are in the Royal Collection (Holbein, Queen’s Gallery, 1978 (89)) and in the Buccleuch Collection.
INSCRIBED: On either side of the head: +HR+ / +VIII+ / +AN+ / +XXXV+.
«COLLECTIONS: Stated erroneously by J. C. Robinson to have been in the Strawberry Hill collection but no mention of it can be found in the numerous accounts and sales; first recorded in the Hollingsworth Magniac collection, 1862, and later the sale, Christie’s July 4th 1892 (lot 183), purchased for the Buccleuch collection whence it passed to the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1949.
LITERATURE: J. C. Robinson, Notice of the Principal Works of Art in the Collection of Hollingsworth Magniac, London, 1862, p. 103 (193.)
C. Winter, The British School of Miniature Painters, London, 1948, p. 7, pl. 1 (a).
T. H. Colding, Aspects of Miniature Painting, Copenhagen, 1953, pp. 63–65, pl. 100.
Reynolds, Connoisseur: Complete Period Guides, 1968, pp. 190–91, pl. 69A.
E. Auerbach, “Some Tudor Portraits at the Royal Academy”, Burlington Magazine, XCIX, 1957, p. 13.
Hugh Paget, “Gerard and Lucas Hornebolte in England”, Burlington Magazine, CI, 1959, pp. 396–402, pl. 44.
Auerbach, Hilliard, pp. 50–51, pl. I; 287 ( I ).» (Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered, 1520-1620 (1983) by Roy Strong, p. 36.)
The Miniature of Katherine of Aragon with a Monkey in the Buccleuch Collection
Quite by chance I came over the picture below Somewhere on the Internet™
Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon – Buccleuch Collection
If this photograph so dilligently found and uploaded by Kiki is genuine, the miniature of Katherine of Aragon with her pet monkey has since got a new frame. This is how the miniature is framed today:
Katherine of Aragon with a Marmoset
Katherine of Aragon
Vellum stuck onto a plain card, rectangular | 54.5 x 48 mm, 2 1/8 x 7/8 in.
«COLLECTIONS: Conceivably in the collection of Queen Caroline at Kensington Palace (Catalogue, p. 22 (no. 147 (8))): “Katherine of Aragon, Queen of Spain, in a square”; first certainly recorded in the Buccleuch collection, 1866, previous history unknown.
LITERATURE: Archaeologia, XL, 1866, pp. 73–74; Strong, Tudor and Jacobean, I, p. 40; II, pl. 74.» (Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered, 1520-1620 (1983) by Roy Strong, p. 36-37)
It would also mean that at once point the two miniatures had matching frames, and were in the same collection, and, most importantly, are of the same size.
A little research made it clear that it is in fact a well-known fact that the two once were in the same collection, the Buccleuch Collection, where the miniature of Katherine of Aragon with her pet monkey still resides.
In fact, the photograph appears to be from the book Henry VIII by Albert Frederic Pollard (1869–1948), published in 1902, and can be found here.
According to The Frame Blog, speaking of the miniature of Henry VIII now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, «The outer enamelled frame is currently under examination, to see whether it is contemporary or a later addition.» However, another miniature, a copy of the famous portrait of Lady Guildford, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which copy is dated circa 19th century, has the same frame. The frames probably date from when all three miniatures were in the same collection. At least two of them were in the Magniac Collection, the miniature of Henry VIII now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and the miniature copy of the famous portrait of Lady Guildford (then called Katherine of Aragon).
(Edited to add 09.03.2023: The V&A has since discovered that this little miniature does in fact date from the early 17th century, not the 19th century. As I have always loved this little miniature, this thrills me. The V&A writes: «One miniature, belonging to the collector Hollingworth Magniac, was catalogued as by Hans Holbein of Henry VIII's first wife, Katharine of Aragon. It is still in its 'Magniac frame' of blue, black and white enamel. Bequeathed to the V&A in 1941 as part of a larger collection, it was correctly identified as a copy of Holbein's oil painting of Mary, Lady Guildford, now in the Saint Louis Art Museum, USA. Magniac and the exhibition curators, however, had not been deceived by one of the many 19th century 'fakes' that were appearing on the market as recent examination of its materials and techniques suggest this copy was painted in the early 17th-century.» Portrait Miniatures at the V&A – The Victoria and Albert Museum
«The entire range of portraiture can show nothing more admirable than this most exquisite miniature. Although from its shape it does not appear to have painted as a companion to that of the king, it was doubtless executed at or near the same time, which was the period of the full development of Holbein’s powers, whilst he was doubtless exerting himself to the utmost to please his new English patrons, and before success and the multitude of commissions he received had rended him careless. It is a square miniature, with an arched or rounded top, the background blue as usual. The figure is a half-length, painted with microscopic delicacy ; it is, in fact, a most living likeness, and has a singular resemblance to a beautiful minute photograph. The truth and reality of expression of the head is indeed most wonderful, whilst every detail is painted with a perfection and yet perfect ease and facility of execution, probably never approached by any other artist. The queen wears a black dress trimmed with black fur ; yellow sleeves, with the lawn sleeves of the chemise puffed and protruding. She holds a green velvet-covered book and also a string of red beads in her hands, and has a rich bonnet of cloth of gold of the usual English triangular shape, with a wide black falling band behind, on her head. Her neck and bosom are adorned with numerous gold chains, pendent jewels, &c. This miniature came from the Strawberry Hill Collection (14th day’s sale, No. 65). Walpole himself says of it :—“I have Katherine of Aragon, a miniature, exquisitely finished ; (a round?) on a blue ground. It was given to the Duke of Monmouth by Charles II. I bought it at the sale of the Lady Isabella Scott, daughter of the Duchess of Monmouth.» Catalogue of the renowned collection of works of art, chiefly formed by the late Hollingwoth Magniac (also known as the Colworth Collection) by Christie, Manson & Woods (1892), p. 59
This is obviously the little miniature of Mary Wotton, Lady Guildford, above: «It is a square miniature, with an arched or rounded top, the background blue as usual. [...] The queen wears a black dress trimmed with black fur ; yellow sleeves, with the lawn sleeves of the chemise puffed and protruding. She holds a green velvet-covered book and also a string of red beads in her hands, and has a rich bonnet of cloth of gold of the usual English triangular shape, with a wide black falling band behind, on her head. Her neck and bosom are adorned with numerous gold chains, pendent jewels, &c.»
There can be no doubt.
The astute reader will recognise this provenance: «It was given to the Duke of Monmouth by Charles II. I bought it at the sale of the Lady Isabella Scott, daughter of the Duchess of Monmouth.» That is the one given for one of our miniatures, the one in the Buccleuch collection called Anne Boleyn, previously known as Katherine of Aragon.
«This is one of three miniatures of Henry VIII given to Charles I by the Earl of Suffolk. Although it is numbered 48 on the reverse it is in fact the larger of the two identical miniatues listed by van der Dort who states that it is the same size as the one with the beard but larger than the one identical with it: “Item don upon the right. lighte a Third the – / like bignes King Henry the 8ts picture in a tourn’d / white Ivory round Box being without a Beard / in a black Capp, and a little gold Cheine about his / neck, in an Ash cullor’d wrought dowblett in a furr’d / Cloake and purple sleeves whereby alsoe written wth / golden letters his name and Age / 35 /”.
INSCRIBED: On either side of the head: H.R. / .VIII.: / .A.N ETATIS / .XXXV. Reverse: a label inscribed in the hand of Abraham von der Dort: 48| In the Cubbord| with ye cabo| nett roome at| whithall: 1638.
COLLECTIONS: Given to Charles I with two other miniatures of Henry VIII by Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk; recorded by van der Dort, 1638 (Millar, Walpole Society, XXXVII, 1960, p. 114 (no. 47); possibly Charles II inventory, c. 1662-85 (no. 452): “Henry .8. aged 35 yeares”; James II (no. 604): “King Henry the Eighht with a jewel in his cap, a limning in an ivory frame”; William III: “Henry VIII. a Jewel in his cap; the frame ivory”, seen by Vertue, 1734, at Kensington Palace: “Henr. VIII. Ao. AEt. XXXV” (Notebooks, IV, p. 67); purchased for the Buccleuch collection from Colnaghi’s who were disposing of the collection of a Mr Sarson (letters of October 1882 from Andrew McKay to James Stewart, Buccleuch Archives).» (Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered, 1520-1620 (1983) by Roy Strong, p. 37)
The reference portrait for the miniature in the Royal Collection in which Henry VIII is wearing a beard, is easy enough to suss out. That is obviously the one now in the Louvre and the miniature of Henry VIII from letters patent for Thomas Foster.
But which is the reference portrait for the ones of Henry VIII without a beard? Well, one possibility is this one.
If we are working with the theory that the above miniatures of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon in fact were posthumous productions by Levina Teerlinc, but historically we know that the miniature sent to France and the manuscript miniature were by Lucas Horenbout, then which one of them painted this?
Was it another posthumous portrait created for Mary I Tudor by Levina Teerlinc?
Or was it in fact drawn from life by Lucas Horenbout, and served perhaps as a reference painting for the miniatures in the Buccleuch Collection and the Royal Collection, to which it bears great resemblance?
The Frame Blog writes: «As portraiture gained more autonomy, miniatures emerged from the pages of manuscripts to become independent portraits. This depiction of Henry VIII is again an early example, also by Lucas Hornebolt, who served as the king’s portraitist from 1525. It demonstrates the transition from MS decoration (as in the rather later portrait on the letters patent, above) to a portrait which might be worn like a jewel and given as a favour. In this case, the painting has its own integral frame, with gilded angels in the spandrels who spin gold lines entwining the initials of Henry and Katherine of Aragon. This personal, domestic detail may suggest that this is not a gift of state, like those of Elizabeth I, below».
I completely agree that this was a transitional piece between manuscript illustration and what we would regard as the traditional miniature. And Lucas Horenbout was a trained manuscript illuminator. However, so was Levina Teerlinc.
«An emblem favored by Henry VIII was his initial woven with his queen's in a "love knot" pattern. Below is an example of the HK Henry wore on his armor until he ended his marriage to Katharine of Aragon.
Those initials could be found everywhere: on Henry's armor, on the walls of his palaces, public buildings, on his personal possessions, stamped on the covers of books, and painted on furniture. Because Henry's reign was one of unprecedented royal construction, his initials - and those of his current queen - ended up adorning a multitude of structures.
When Anne became queen, she and Henry embarked on a concerted effort to replace all of the HKs, pomegranates, and Katharine's arms with Anne's symbols.»
However, according to the photographer who took the picture, this armour was constructed in 1540 and made in Greenwich, London for one of the last tournaments that Henry VIII was known to have organised.
In other words, when Henry VIII was married to Katherine Howard, not Katherine of Aragon. Before his death, he would of course marry yet another woman named Katherine, Katherine Parr.
Now, I am of course not suggesting that the miniature dates from his marriage to any of them. The age of the King is clearly given, 35, and whether it is given in years he is of age or the year he is currently in as they were given to in Tudor times, at 34–35, Henry VIII was married to Katherine of Aragon.
No, the fact that the HK monogram on the armour, which bears a close resemblance to the HK monogram on the miniature, is either a later design or the same that was employed for Katherine of Aragon, makes me less inclined to believe that miniature was actually created during that time and more inclined to believe that it was recreated at a later chance.
So, who had a vested interest in making Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon look all lovey-dovey?
I can honestly think of only one.
The Group of Miniatures of Henry VIII
The Royal Collection mentions that their miniatures of Henry VIII are two of a group of seven miniatures.
The Louvre heightens this number to eight and identifies the other seven as «London, Sotheby's, July 11, 1983, No. 25; Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, PD 19-1949; HM The Queen, The Royal Collection; Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KT; V. de S. Collection, The Netherlands; Private Collection».
According to Alison Weir, «The first identifiable English work by one of them, Lucas Horenbout, is the King's portrait in an initial letter on a patent dated 28 April 1524 (sold at Sotheby's in 1983 and now in a private collection)».
So it would be appear as if the one sold at Sotheby's in 1983 is identical to the miniature of Henry VIII from letters patent for Thomas Foster and is pictured here.
Which means that we have traced down six of these eight miniatures, and the ones that we are lacking are the one in the Collection V. de S. in Vorden, The Netherlands, a private collection, and one in yet another private collection.
Without getting a look on these (bearing also in mind that the reference portrait may be lost today) it is simply impossible to say if the Fitzwilliam miniature of Henry VIII is by Horenbout or created by Levina Teerlinc on the orders of Mary I Tudor.
The V. de S. Collection, The Netherlands, is the one that the miniature of Margaret Beaufort belongs to, so it is clearly sometimes open to researchers. We must hope that one day a picture of this miniature will be published.
EDITED TO ADD 12.03.2023
Roy Strong writes of the seventh and eight miniatures in his book Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered, 1520-1620, p. 39-41.
THE SEVENTH MINIATURE
12 Henry VIII, c. 1530
Collection V. de S.
Vellum stuck onto a playing card with one diamond showing at the reverse, circular, 30 mm, 1 3/16 in. diam.
One of a pair of miniatures, the other being of the King’s grandmother. Margaret Beaufort (no. 13). It has all the qualities of a repetition. It is in virtually mint condition and preserves a portrait of the King predating Holbein’s entry into royal service. The King’s beard is greying and his face is wrinkled suggesting a date early in the 1530s.
INSCRIBED: On either side of the head: •REX• | •HENRI• | CVS• •OCTA | VVS•.
COLLECTIONS: Purchased by the present owner’s grandfather on 22nd February 1913 from G. C. van Meurs; previously in the possession of the van den Heuvel family in The Hague.»
There is sadly no picture. We must again reiterate our hope that one day a picture of this miniature will be published, especially as the description made it sound even more interesting than before.
THE EIGHT MINIATURE
16 Henry VIII, c. 1537
Vellum stuck to plain card, circular, 49 mm, 1 15/16 in. diam.
Formerly this miniature was attributed to Holbein but the technique is that of Hornebolte and the work of a right-handed artist. Holbein was left-handed. The head is identical with that in Holbein’s portrait of the King in the Thyssen Collection and as initially conceived in the great wall-painting of 1537 in the Privy Chamber of Whitehall Palace (Strong, Tudor and Jacobean, II, pl. 307). Although both the hat and chain are identical, the costume is quite different. The painting, however, is spontaneous and lively and it could be the result of independent observation under the influence of Holbein as much as a copy of the head from the Thyssen Collection portrait. The miniature is in good condition, although the once silver doublet has oxidized.
INSCRIBED: On the backboard in the hand of the 2nd Earl of Oxford: “K. Henry 8th”.
COLLECTIONS: In the collection of Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689–1741); first recorded by Vertue, c. 1732: “K. Hen. 8” (Vertue, Notebooks, I, p. 41); Vertue‘s 1743 catalogue (60); Oxford’s daughter Margaret married William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland; thence by descent.
LITERATURE: Goulding, Welbeck, p. 55 ( I ).» (Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered, 1520-1620 (1983) by Roy Strong, p. 40)
I think this must be one of the untraced works in The Lost Collection of Charles I.
«The 1st ([or] third), Henry VIII (when older), furred cloak, (golden collar over his shoulder), silk embroidered doublet (of silver cloth), black cap with white feather»
According to the entry, in c.1639 it was in a frame of round turned white ivory case. It’s provenance was Lord Suffolk, Theophilus Howard. A gift. According to the notes: «4 Pictures of Henry VIII in turned white ivory cases without crystals, a group given by Lord Suffolk». So, Theophilus Howard gave four miniatures of Henry VIII to his sovereign.
Katherine of Aragon by Lucas Hornebolte, c.1525-26 - Katherine of Aragon Attributed to Lucas Horenbout; NPG L244
The fact that we can then be reliably sure that this photograph is genuine, and that the miniatures are of an equal size and shape, opens up for the possibility that these two, the miniature of Henry VIII now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (PD.19-1949) and the miniature of Katherine of Aragin with her pet monkey in the Buccleuch Collection, were also created as a set.
By Levina Teerlinc, on the orders of her employer, Queen Mary I Tudor, who never got over what happened to her little family, some time during her reign of 1553–1558.
«Recent dendrochronological dating has concluded that an earliest felling date of 1531 is likely for the production of the panel on which this portrait is painted. Such analysis is based on the measurement of a tree’s growth rings in the panel, and comparison with climate records and other known and dated examples. The analysis of this panel found that the latest, or ‘oldest’, growth ring surviving is that for 1523. More precise dating is then achieved by adding a minimum number of growth rings that may have been lost in the process of manufacture, typically eight rings, or eight years. Such a small amount of wood lost in the process is not untypical, since great care was taken to prevent unnecessary waste. Thus in this case eight years have been added to 1523 to arrive at 1531.
This panel, however, is unusual in that it is made of two boards joined at a skewed angle, and not a straight vertical line as normal. Furthermore, the grain runs at a further skewed angle within the boards, meaning that more – or perhaps less – growth rings could be present. However, the relatively crude manner in which this board is constructed suggests that it was made during the earliest period of manufacture of large artist’s panels in England, not to mention the artistic style and technique of the painting itself. Furthermore, in the absence of any similar dendrochronological analysis for the two other best-known panel portraits of Katherine of Aragon (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and National Portrait Gallery, London) this example could well be the earliest currently known easel portrait of Katherine, and the only example plausibly datable to her lifetime.
The significance of such an icon produced during the 1530s is apparent. In the midst of her divorce from the King, Katherine and her party may well have been concerned with making sure that her face continued to be seen at home and abroad as part of the concerted programme to maintain her status as Queen. There would, therefore, have been considerable incentive for producing a portrait that repeated a younger, beautiful likeness of the Queen as well as conveying, perhaps, an intelligible iconographic message to her adherents.
The portrait derives directly from a miniature painted c.1525 by Lucas Horenbout d.1544 (Duke of Buccleuch Collection), which again shows Katherine holding a monkey, but makes subtle alterations to the iconography. The monkey is being offered a coin, which he ignores, reaching out instead for the jeweled crucifix that the Queen wears at her breast. The interpretation here is plain: Katherine’s creature expresses his obedience to the church by recognizing that the cross is more precious than money. The fact that these elements are absent from the Buccluech miniature, in which the monkey is merely being offered a tit-bit, and the gesture of its outstretched hand is empty, shows that the portrait’s iconography was deliberately reconfigured to comment on the Queen’s situation in the years c.1527 – 1530 and to make a point of her Catholic orthodoxy. It has even been suggested that the species of the monkey, a marmoset, may be an allusion to the straits of Katherine and her party at that date, since the letters are a near-anagram of the name Thomas More, the most celebrated of Katherine’s supporters and later a martyr for her cause. This is not too-far fetched, since the Tudor audience was schooled in allegory, the essential pabulum of their art. The apparent frivolity of the subject – a court lady playing with her pet monkey – would have delighted them all the more if it was susceptible to a deeper, parallel reading that touched on what was to become the King’s Great Matter. Far more than a flattering likeness of a Queen who felt herself spurned in place of a younger rival, the portrait can also be read as a calculated piece of propaganda and a move in a game being played for the very highest stakes.
Comparison with other known portraits of Katherine again shows the importance of the present example. The exaggerated, angular features of that in the National Portrait Gallery (NPG 163) and its derivatives are clearly a schematized derivation of the pleasanter face in the present painting, which relates so closely to the Buccleuch miniature, traditionally and legitimately considered an ad vivum likeness. The later portraits, described, as with the example in the MFA Boston as ‘mechanical and workshop in quality’ suggest little of the woman who in 1531 was described as ‘if not handsome she is not ugly; she is somewhat stout and always has a smile on her face.’
The authorship of the present panel painting is not known. Its close relation to the Horenbout miniature might suggest some connection to the Horenbout workshop, and the old attribution recorded on the verso of the old frame may have some validity. Too little is currently known, however, of the portrait practice of Anglo-Flemish artists’ workshops in the period before the arrival of Hans Holbein the younger for one to be able to pronounce with any certainty. It is worth remembering that the years up to c.1530 represent the very infancy of easel painting in England: royal portraits datable to this period are scarce, and those of non-royal sitters effectively non-existent.»
Philip Mould very modestly assume that they have got hold of a copy here.
I am instead wondering if they did not get a hold of the original.
If you were to photoshop NPG L244 and the portrait once with Philip Mould together you would pretty much have the miniature in the Buccleuch collection.
Furthermore, there are some strange inconsistencies with the miniature. Much has been made of the little monkey reaching for the cross rather than the coin (religion over filthy lucre) both by Philip Mould as quoted above, and in another excellent article at Art History News.
And yet, would not the simplest explanation be that the monkey is reaching for something glittering and shiny, such as a cross, in the manner of small playful animals and toddlers?
Oh, I do not doubt the symbolism noted by both Philip Mould and the author of the article at Art History News.
Of course the painting formerly with Philip Mould is somewhat stylized. The monkey holding the flowers, for example. And yet, the monkey in the miniature in the Buccleuch Collection appears to be reaching for something, but there is nothing there. Similarly, its tiny fist is clenched as if it is holding flowers, though of course there are no flowers there.
Philip Mould is suggesting that the portrait formerly with them was a symbolic version of a realistic picture.
I am suggesting that it was the other way around: That the miniature in the Buccleuch Collection was a realistic version of a symbolic picture.
Of course, the last thing Mary I Tudor would have been wanted to be reminded of when trying to recreate the happy days of the past was the King's Great Matter.
And we do know that Mary I Tudor both tried to recreate the past (her Spanish marriage, she originally tried to marry Charles V, her mother's nephew and her original fiancé from when she was a girl), and in a sense rewrite it, or 'put things to right', having her parents' marriage declared valid again etc.
So instead of a monkey rejecting a coin (and wordly goods) we have a monkey curiously disinterested in a treat.
There are two more curious elements to this miniature, the last one perhaps the most so.
The first of these two last curious elements is that in the miniature of Katherine of Aragon with the monkey, one fall of her English gable hood is pinned up. This does not seem at all accurate for the mid-1520's. It is perfectly seemingly in style for 1531, though, as a transitory phase between the English gable hoods of the 1520's where both falls were hanging down to the pinned up version of the English gable hood from about 1533 as can be seen on Anne and Mary Boleyn and Jane Seymour.