8 July 2016
Circle of the Master of the Female Half-Lengths (active Antwerp 1520-1540)
Saint Mary Magdalene reading at a table, with a red rose before her
oil on panel
16 x 11 ¾ in. (40.2 x 30 cm.)
(Possibly) King Henry VIII (see note).
with Arthur de Heuvel, Brussels, from whom acquired in the 1970s by the following,
Anonymous sale; Christie’s, Amsterdam, 9 November 2010, lot 13.
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(Probably) D. Starkey (ed.), The Inventory of King Henry VIII, (Society of Antiquaries MS 129 and British Library MS Harley 1419), London, 1998, p. 237, no. 10590.
The prominent rose, shown lying face on to the viewer in the present work, which would seem not to appear in any of the other versions of this composition, bears a striking similarity to the famous emblem of the Tudor monarchy. In the inventories of the Royal Collections following the death of King Henry VIII, the picture described as ‘Item a nother lesse Table with the picture of Marye Magdaleyne looking on her booke the boxe standing before her’ (op. cit.) accords with the present panel. The rose on the Magdalene’s table in this picture would seemingly strengthen the connection between the two works.
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