Image: Henry VIII, King of England, 1530s
Phillip Mould: The Human Face of Henry VIII At first sight this painting of King Henry VIII appeared to be an unpromising later derivative of Hans Holbein’s famous portrait of 1537. Conservation, however, resulted in an extraordinary transformation and the removal of the later autocratic mask has revealed a sweeter and more human likeness underneath. This earlier portrait shows a still-youthful King before the Reformation, marital disillusionment and political resistance had shaped the harsh, unbending tyrant familiar from Holbein’s formidable likeness. This important addition to the iconography of Henry’s earlier reign was produced by a native workshop in the early 1530s, and dates perhaps to the period when the King was courting Anne Boleyn. The painting has been acquired by Hever Castle as an important addition to their collection of early Tudor portraits.