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English School, circa 1590-1620
English School, circa 1590-1620

Portrait of Katherine Parr (1512-1548), Queen of England, half-length, in a black dress with black-and-white-embroidered collar and fur sleeves, and a bejewelled headdress

Details
English School, circa 1590-1620
Portrait of Katherine Parr (1512-1548), Queen of England, half-length, in a black dress with black-and-white-embroidered collar and fur sleeves, and a bejewelled headdress
1ith identifying inscription 'CATHARINA REGINA VXOR HENRICI VIII' (upper centre)
oil on panel
21½ x 16 in. (54.6 x 40.6 cm.)
Provenance
(Possibly) William Bryant; Foster's, London, 15 May 1823, 'Queen Catherine Parr', as 'Holbein' (unsold).
Archibald Leslie-Melville, 13th Earl of Leven and 12th Earl of Melville (1890-1947); Robinson and Fisher, London, 29 November 1934, lot 107, as 'Holbein'.
J. Gold, 1964.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 30 June 2005, lot 1, as 'Manner of Hans Holbein the Younger 1497/8-1543' (£11,000).
with Philip Mould Ltd., London.
Literature
S.E. James, Kateryn Parr, London, 1999, p. 421, fig. 30, as circa 1546.
BBC History Magazine, April 2009, p. 33.
J.P. Carley, 'Sixth Wife. Italic ambitions: The works of Henry VIII's last queen and the problem of identifying exactly what Katherine wrote', The Times Literary Supplement, London, 3 June 2011, pp. 1-5, as 'English school, sixteenth century', illustrated on the cover.
Exhibited
Richmond, Hampton Court Palace, Henry's Women, 10 April-3 August 2009 (no catalogue).

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Lot Essay

Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII's six wives, was one of the foremost English patrons of portraiture during any part of the King's reign. As part of her support to Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, which helped restore those future queens to the line of succession, she commissioned the first full-length portraits of either, and was painted a significant number of times herself. In addition to a miniature probably by Lucas Horenbout (formerly in the collection of Horace Walpole, now at Sudeley Castle), a full-length by Master John, a half-length by an anonymous artist (both London, National Portrait Gallery) and a youthful portrait of circa 1530 (London, Lambeth Palace), she is recorded to have been limned by John Bettes the Elder in as many as seven miniatures, all untraced, and to have sat for an untraced portrait by Hans Eworth, the major successor to Hans Holbein in England. It has been suggested that the present portrait dates to circa 1590-1620, and may be a rare record of the lost depiction of the Queen by Hans Eworth, showing the Queen in costume typical of 1545-1550. An intelligent and cultivated patron of scholarship and the arts, Katherine became the first woman, and the first English Queen, to publish a work of prose in the sixteenth century (Prayers or Meditations, 1545).

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