The Belmont Portrait is one of the more vague and seldom seen images of Anne Boleyn based on the B Pattern. This specific portrait is named in this study after one of its documented owners and as far as I am aware, it has never before been published, nor has it ever been exhibited in any gallery or museum.
The portraits existence is purely known through a selection of old black and white images held in the Frick Art Reference Library, New York. This is probably the first ever effort to study this painting and its connection to other portraits utilising the B Pattern in a scholarly manner.
The painting is executed in oil on a wooden panel and measures 20 x 14 ½ inches. The portrait depicts the head and upper torso of an adult female who appears before a plain dark background. She is turned slightly to the viewers left, though her eyes engage the viewer directly. Her face is oval in shape, with a high forehead. Her hair is dark in colour, appears straight, and is worn parted in the centre of the crown and pulled back over her ears and under her headwear. Her eyes appear dark in colour and her eyebrows are thin and arched. The nose is straight with a high bridge and her lips are small and thin.
The sitter’s costume includes a French hood, ending just below the jawline. This is constructed with the use of black fabric that includes the use of an upper and lower billiment of pearls. A black veil is also seen hanging down at the back. At her neck she wears two strings of pearls with a large letter B pendant of goldsmith work and three hanging pearls suspended from the upper necklace. A gold chain is also seen at the neck, that falls and disappears into the front of the sitter’s bodice. The gown itself is constructed of a dark fabric with what appears to be the hint of large fur sleeves, seen at the bottom edges of the portrait. The upper edge of the bodice is cut squared and a chemise, embroidered with blackwork protrudes along the entire bodice margin.
There are no identifying inscriptions readily visible on the painted surface and no photograph of the reverse of the painting is available.
Documented as Flemish School
As highlighted above, very little is known regarding the early provenance for this particular portrait. An information sheet, stored along with the old photographic images in the Frick Library does inform us that the portrait was once in the collection of a Mrs Belmont and that it was purchased form her by a Malcom Sands Wilson of New York. It is also recorded that the old black and white photographic images of this portrait were acquired for the Frick Collection in the April of 1936 form Mrs Belmont.
This portrait’s current location remains unknown, at this point in time. As far as I am aware the painting has not undergone any scientific investigation to establish a date of production or place of origin, so no precise date can be documented. From the records held in the Frick Collection it does appear that the painting was deemed significant enough to undergo some restoration techniques. The restoration work was completed by William Hisgrove of New York in 1936 and a photographic image which was taken of the portrait before this took place clearly shows the that later overpaint, and old varnish was removed were removed during this process. This suggests that the portrait was possibly of a significant age when the restoration work was completed.
In my opinion, what is significant about the Belmont Portrait it that, of the many copies related to the B pattern, this, is probably the closest in comparison to the portrait in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
This copy, Known as NPG668, was purchased by the Gallery in 1882 and will be discussed in later part of this study. All portrait relating to the B pattern have significant differences in the finer details which are applied by the artist. Though slightly bigger in size, the facial feature seen in NPG668 are noticeably similar to those depicted in the Belmont Copy. The blackwork design depicted on the chemise, worn under the sitter’s bodice is also depicted in an identical manner.
It is my opinion that, the Belmont portrait is of significant interest, due to it similarities to NPG668. It would certainly be interesting if The National Portrait Gallery where able to locate the Belmont paintings current whereabouts and attempt to clarify if indeed there is any possible connection between the two portraits.
Anne Boleyn was the second Queen of Henry VIII, she was executed in 1536, and she is arguably one of the more popular figures in Tudor history today. Similar to Lady Jane Grey, many portraits have been associated with Anne’s name over the course of time. None have produced the documentation to conclusively prove an identification and Anne continues to go without a portrait painted from life to this day.
One of the most famous depictions of Anne is what I refer to as the B pattern. This image has been extensively reproduced in history books when discussing Anne’s story. The B pattern depicts a lady wearing a black French Hood and a pearl necklace with a gold letter ‘B’ hanging from it. All surviving portraits were probably produced as part of portrait sets illustrating Kings and Queens of England, but what I find interesting about these portrait’s, is, we know so little about them.
During the latter half of the sixteenth century it had become popular for ‘portrait sets’ to be produced. These sets were often displayed in public places, in galleries, in homes across Tudor England and in some of the royal palaces occupied by the Monarch. Portrait sets were not only produced to document historic figures, but also demonstrated loyalty to a specific cause. As the mother of the Reigning Monarch, Elizabeth I, Anne was often depicted within the sets as the wife of Henry VIII.
Portrait sets were created in workshops and required a lesser skilled artist than the Great Masters who were probably commissioned to paint the original, thus making them cheaper and more accessible to the individual living in Tudor England. An image was often derived from a standard pattern of an individual, based on an existing image, description, engraving or in some circumstances a tomb effigy. These could be used by the workshops to quickly trace the desired image on to a wooden panel so that the portrait could be produced as quickly and effectively as possible.
A small number of portraits based on the B pattern and dated to the end of sixteenth century still exist today. Some are in public galleries whilst others remain in private collections across the world. Most of the individual portraits depicting Anne, first appear in documentation during the turn of the twentieth century, with little known regarding there provenance prior to this.
The B pattern was most certainly accepted as an image of Anne Boleyn during the latter half of the sixteenth century. As for what source it was based on, in truth, we do not really know today. The purpose of this study is to look at the surviving collection of portraits depicting Anne that derive from the B pattern. In compiling this study, I hope to establish a better understanding about the production of ‘portrait sets’, and the use of Anne’s image. I hope to Look at each portrait as an individual, in the hope of establishing some sort of database of information concerning each portrait. Where possible I will attempt to document information relating specifically to the date and provenance of each image in the hope of ascertaining more information and identifying a possible sequence in which the portraits were painted.
 For more information on the production and use of portrait sets see: Daunt. Catherine, Portraits Sets in Tudor and Jacobean England, May 2015
Another portrait which has in the past been associated with Lady Jane Grey is currently in the collection of the Frick Art Museum, Pennsylvania. Today, the museum rightfully lists the sitter as Gabrielle de Rochechouart, Lady Lansac as there appears to be more evidence to support this identification than the sitters previous identification.
The painting depicts a lady facing the viewer’s left and painted to just above the waist. She wears a bodice of black fabric cut square at the neck with small puff sleeves, decorated with pearls. A partlet of white fabric with a small ruffle is seen at her neck, and over her shoulders the sitter wears the fur of an animal. The sitter wears a large chain of goldsmith work around her neck and pearls and suspended from this is a large jewel containing one gemstone. Pinned to the front of her bodice is a large jewel containing three gemstones and one large hanging pearl. On her head she wears a French hood constructed with the same fabric used for her fitted sleeves. Upper and lower billiaments consisting of goldsmith work and pearls are attached to the hood, and a black veil is seen hanging down the sitters back.
Nothing is known regarding the early provenance for this portrait or how the image became identified as a portrait of Lady Jane Grey. The first record I have been able to locate regarding this portrait and its one-time association with Lady Jane Grey is an auction catalouge for a sale at Christie’s Auction House, London on 28th February 1930. The portrait was listed among the vast collection of antiques and paintings from the collection of a Barnet Lewis Esq. Lewis died in 1929 and his collection was subsequently sold off at auction. The Frick painting is described in this catalouge as
Lot 94. Lucas De Heere, Portrait of Lady Jane Grey.
In a black dress, with yellow sleeves and jewel ornaments. Oil on panel – 6 ½ in. by 5 ¼ in.
The description given in the catalouge differs from with what is seen in the portrait today. As listed above, the description states that the sitter wears yellow sleeves, however, when purchased by the current owner, it was apparent that the portrait had been heavily over painted during its history. Recent restoration work has taken place on the painting to remove the discoloured varnish and overpaint, resulting in the colour of the sitter’s sleeves being taken back to the original intended colour of pink.
The artist associated with the creation of the portrait, in the 1930 catalouge, is also inconsistent with the dates surrounding Jane Grey’s life. The Flemish painter Lucas de Heere (1534-1584) fled the Netherlands for England to escape religious persecution. He is first recorded in England in 1566, much later than Jane’s death in February 1554, so he is highly unlikely to have painted an authentic portrait of Lady Jane Grey.
The portrait entered the Frick collection when it was purchased from the Wildenstein Galleries, New York by Helen Frick on 16th April 1931. On entering the collection, the painting was installed in the Librarian’s Office of the Frick Art Reference Library. The identification of the sitter as Lady Jane Grey was immediately challenged, and the Frick portrait was compared to another identical copy once in the collection of the Duke of Sutherland at Stafford House.
This copy had been donated in 1897 to The Musee Conde by Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale and along with other paintings from the Duke of Sutherlands collection had been associated with the Dutch artist Corneille de Lyon.
Corneille de Lyon was actively working in France from the 1530’s until his death in 1575. He was nationalised as French in 1547 and was employed as the painter to the king under Henry II and Charles IX. Frustratingly, de Lyon did not sign or date his work, so although this artist is widely documented within sixteenth century records, very few works can be reliably associated with his hand today. 
The panel surface of the portrait in The Musee Conde’s collection has been extended, at a later date to include the early inscription detailing the sitters name as GABRIELE. DE. ROCHECHOART. DAME. DE. LANSAC. It was therefore decided by the curators of the Frick collection that their identical copy must also depict the same individual and not Lady Jane Grey.
 Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Catalogue of the Important Collection of Ancient and Modern Pictures and Water Colour Drawings: The Property of the Late Barnet Lewis, Esq, page 19
 Strong. Roy, Gloriana The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, Pimlico, 2003, page 71
 Fazio. Carl Vincent, Helen Clay Flick: Architectural Patron & Art Collector, University of Pittsburgh, 1998, page 36
 For the most up to date record of work associated with Corneille de Loyn see Dubois de Groer. Anne, Corneille de Lyon, Arthena, Paris, 2003
 Dubois de Groer. Anne, Corneille de Lyon, Arthena, Paris, 2003, Page 215
Research into sixteenth century portraiture is a complex but fascinating subject. In many cases, the search starts with the surviving painting itself and then continues with the search for any written documentation concerning its provenance and any clues to the possible identification of the sitter.
When discussing portraits that have a history of approximately four hundred and fifty years behind them, it must be remembered that it is hard today to discover a portrait that has not been altered in some shape or form. Over the years the original painted surface of a portrait may have been repainted due to bad restoration or over cleaning. Inscriptions and coats of arms may also have been added at a later period in time, and in some cases the composition, original inscriptions and signatures may have been cut down to enable the portrait to fit in a new frame.
In the case of the Skeffington portrait, much of the above has happened. This portrait has also been identified as at least four separate individuals during its modern recorded history. Three out of the four sitters suggested have all faced execution, and today the portrait is now identified as an unknown lady.
Our first documented record regarding this portrait’s survival is a book in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries, London. This book contains copies of minutes of meetings held by the society during the nineteenth century and records that a portrait thought to depict Lady Jane Grey was presented to the Society by Sir William Skeffington on 6th February 1806.
The portrait presented depicts a lady, seen to just below the waist and facing the viewer’s left. Both hands are clasped in front of the sitter, and four gold rings can be seen on her fingers. The sitter has grey eyes and auburn hair that is parted in the middle. On her head, she wears a French hood constructed of crimson and white fabric with both upper and lower billaments of goldsmith work. A black veil is also seen hanging down from the back of the hood, and under this she wears a gold coif. A black loose gown with a fur collar and mutton leg sleeves is worn by the sitter and is fastened to the waist. Under this the hint of a crimson kirtle is seen, and at her neck and wrists the sitter wears a figure-of-eight ruff which is embroidered with red thread. The lady also wears a pendant of goldsmith work containing three square cut gemstones and three pearls suspended at her neck. She is depicted in front of a plain background, and the image is painted on wooden panel.
Sir William Farrell-Skeffington adopted the Skeffington name in 1786 and inherited the fifteenth century manor house Skeffington Hall in East Leicester. Prior to his death he began to sell objects off from the estate and eventually sold the house, land and contents in July 1814.
Skeffington presented the painting for sale to the Reverend John Brand, Secretary of the society of Antiquaries. He informed the Society that the portrait represented Lady Jane Grey and was painted by Lucas de Heere. No information is provided in the minutes of this meeting to inform us why Skeffington thought the portrait was a depiction of Lady Jane, and no information concerning the paintings provenance was recorded. It appears that Mr Brand immediately challenged Skeffington’s identification as a painting of Jane Grey, noting that a fragment of an inscription can be seen on the top left-hand side of the panel surface which identified the date that the portrait was painted as 1560. Brand rightfully recalled that the date painted on the surface did not coincide with the death of Lady Jane Grey and suggested that the portrait must in fact represent Jane’s mother Lady Frances Brandon, with Brand noting that she died in 1563.
One possible reason for the misidentification as a portrait of Lady Jane Grey is the inscription seen on the right-hand side of the panel surface. This inscription reads ‘Rather deathe / than false of Faythe,’ which suggest that the sitter depicted would rather die or may possibly have died as a result of religious conflict. The inscription itself appears to have been painted in a slightly different shade of yellow than the other one detailing the year and artists initials on the left side. This suggests that one of the inscriptions was possibly added at a later date, though scientific testing would be required to establish if this theory is correct.
There is a popular tradition that Queen Mary offered Jane a pardon if she was willing to convert to Roman Catholicism. The tradition appears to have emerged shortly after Jane’s death as a way for Protestants to promote Jane’s dedication to the Protestant cause even when faced with death. There is no surviving evidence to document that Jane was ever offered an actual pardon if she would convert, but there was indeed an effort made to get her to convert
Jane was visited by John Feckenham, Queen Mary’s personal chaplain, on 8th Feburary 1554. By this point in her story, Jane had faced trial and had been convicted and sentenced to death as a traitor for accepting the crown and signing herself as queen. Mary was prevented from issuing a pardon because the Spanish demanded that Jane die as a condition of the marriage between Mary and Philip of Spain. Her execution had originally been set for the following day. Mary was able to try to save Jane’s immortal soul, however, and she sent Feckenham to see Jane with that specific task, to try and convert Jane to Catholicism prior to her death.
Jane’s execution was postponed for three days, and a debate was had between Feckenham and Jane which resulted in Jane staying strong to the Protestant faith rather than relinquishing it. This debate was recorded and apparently signed in Jane’s own hand. Within months of her death it appeared in printed format, along with a letter written by Jane to her former tutor Thomas Harding in which she condemned him for his change to Catholicism, thus promoting Jane’s strong belief in the Protestant faith. In 1615, a pamphlet entitled ‘The Life, Death and Actions of The Most Chaste, Learned and Religious Lady, The Lady Jane Grey’ was published in London. This pamphlet contained a copy of the earlier printed debate and it was noted in the introduction that:
Even those which were of the best fame and reputation, were sent unto her to dissuade her from that true profession of the gospel, which from her cradle she had held. Each striving by art, by flattery, by threatening’s, by the promise of life, or what else might move most in the bosom of a weak woman.
It is quite possible that the inscription seen on the right-hand side of the portrait and the myth that Jane had been offered the promise of a pardon if she was willing to change her faith led Skeffington or a previous owner to believe that the painting must in fact depict Jane Grey.
The Skeffington portrait was purchased by the Society of Antiquaries and remained in their collection where it was last recorded in 1847. How the portrait left the Society remains a bit of a mystery, but it was officially recorded as a ‘missing painting’ in one of the more recent publications on its collection.
As discussed above, the portrait disappeared sometime after 1847, but it reappeared again in 1866 when it was exhibited as a painting of Anne Askew in the National Portraits Exhibition from the collection of a Reginald Cholmondeley. Reginald Cholmondeley’s principal estate was the sixteenth century Condover Hall in Shrewsbury. On his death the contents of the Hall were sold at auction on March 6th 1897. The identification of the sitter appears to have changed once again, and by 1897 the portrait was then referred to as:
Item 43. Lucas de Heere, Queen Mary (of Scots), in black with pink-edged ruff and cuffs, cap with gold chain and jewelled badge. Inscribed “Rather Deathe than false of Faythe,” dated 1560.
The portrait was purchased at this auction on behalf of Wilbraham Egerton, Earl Egerton, brother-in law of Reginald Cholmondeley, and was then displayed at Tatton Park. In 1958 Tatton Park and its contents were bequeathed to The National Trust by Maurice Egerton, 4th Baron Egerton of Tatton, and the portrait remains on exhibition there today.
It is my opinion that until scientific investigation has taken place on this portrait to establish if the inscriptions are original or added later then the true identity of its sitter may continue to be unknown. The portrait is currently listed today on The National Trust collections website as an Unknown Lady, called Anne Askew. As discussed in detail in other articles on this website, the size of the ruff worn by the sitter and the date inscribed on the left- hand side are both inconsistent with the date of both the deaths of Jane Grey and Anne Askew. The Skeffington portrait can now be removed from the list of any potential likenesses thought to depict Lady Jane Grey
 Proceedings of the society of antiquaries of London, volume 1, page 47
 A large fifteen-day sale of the contents of Skeffington Hall commenced on 11th July 1814. William Ferrell-Skeffington moved to London that same year however died less than a year later on 26th January 1815
 Proceedings of The Society of Antiquaries of London, vol 1, page 47. John Band appears to have inaccurately listed the date of Frances Grey’s death. Frances died on 20th November 1559 and not 1563 as listed in these minutes. One interesting point is that John Brand also owned a portrait thought to depict Lady Jane Grey. The portrait sold on his death at Stewards Auctions, Piccadilly on June 23rd 1807. It was purchased by the book collector Richard Heber Esq for the sum of eight pounds. No portrait described as Lady Jane Grey appears in the sales catalogues of Heber’s collection.
 The Life, Death and Actions of The Most Chaste, Learned and Religious Lady, The Lady Jane Grey, Printed by G. Eld for John Wright, 1615, page 22
 Electronic communication, Lucy Ellis, Museums Collections Manager, Society of Antiquaries, September 2018
 Franklin. J. A, Catalouge of Paintings in the Collection of The Society of Antiquaries of London, 2015, page 411-412
 Catalogue for the 1866 National Portrait Exhibition page 21. Anne Askew was burnt as the stake as a heretic in 1546 for refusing to acknowledge that the sacrament was the ‘flesh, blood and bone of Christ’.
watching the recent channel 5 television programme ‘inside the Tower of London’
that focused on the story of Lady Jane Grey, I noted that the famous Dudley
carvings on the walls of the Beauchamp Tower were discussed as part of the
programme. Not discussed within this
interesting documentary were the two other carvings associated with Jane’s
story also carved into the walls of the same room.
In 2018, I finally got the chance to visit the Tower of London as an adult. Upon seeing the two small carvings in the Beauchamp Tower in person, I was instantly struck with an air of sadness. To me, these two carvings symbolised so much of the history that had interested me for most of my life, and I knew so little about them. Over the years, my interest in the story of Lady Jane Grey has led me to read a lot of printed material about her. I was aware of the survival of the carvings, though I had read very little about the history that surrounds them.
My initial thought had been that the inscriptions had always been known about and that the tradition that they were associated with the story of Jane Grey had travelled down through the centuries. This in turn prompted me to dig a little deeper in the hope of gaining a better understanding.
The aim of
this article is to establish what is known about the two IANE inscriptions and to
document some details regarding the history of these important artefacts, as so
little has been written about them since their discovery.
research for this article I have been unable to locate any reference regarding
the two carvings of Jane’s name prior to the eighteenth century. According to John Foxe’s Acts and
Monuments, first published in 1563, Jane was supposed to have written the
following two verses into the wall of her apartment with the use of a hair pin.
“Do never think its strange,
Though now I have misfortune,
For if that fortune change,
The same to thee nay happen.”
“If God do help thee,
Hate shall not hurt thee;
If God do fail thee,
Then shall not labour prevail thee.”
Fox makes no
mention of any other carvings showing Jane’s name within the walls of the Tower
of London in his book. Various searches
over the years have been made at the Tower in the hope of locating the above
inscriptions noted by Fox, but the house in which Jane is recorded as being
held was demolished in the eighteenth century. It was replaced with the existing building
today which stands between the Queens House and the Beauchamp Tower.
The two inscriptions
were first discovered in 1796. During this period, the upper room of the
Beauchamp Tower was being converted for the use of officers of the garrison. Prior to this, the room had been used for
domestic use, and the walls had been plastered over and painted, thus eliminating
any traces of earlier inhabitants.
renovations, the plaster was removed from the walls, which in turn revealed a
large number of inscriptions etched into the stonework. On discovery of these, it was immediately
noted that a lot of the carvings where associated with prominent figures in
history who had been imprisoned within this room at the tower.
John Brand, Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries, was the first to discuss
the carvings in a meeting held on 17th November 1796. Notes from the meeting were published in the Archaeologia
Journal in 1800, and this also gave us our first visual view of the
meeting, Brand discussed the discovery of the inscriptions, referring to them
as ‘undoubted autographs made at different periods.’ Brand was also noted to
firmly claim that the IANE inscription was made by Lady Jane Grey herself, reporting
that this had been done ‘as a statement that not even the horrors of prison
would force her to relinquish her title as queen.’ This in turn led to a number of artists
creating images of Jane either making the inscription herself or depicted
within the room containing an inscription of her name.
It is not
known how or why Brand had come to this conclusion as the exact place in which
Jane was housed when prisoner at the Tower was documented within the Chronical
of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary. This book was thought to have been written by
a resident at the Tower of London who notes that Jane was imprisoned in
Partridge’s House and not the Beauchamp Tower. 
was eventually corrected with the publication of a book in 1825 by John
Bayley. In this, Bayley discussed the
fact that Lady Jane herself was imprisoned in the house of the Gentleman Gaoler
on Tower Green, also known as Partridge’s House. He reports that due to this, the inscriptions
could not have been made by her hand, noting that it’s highly unlikely that
Jane would have been allowed to spend time in the prison cell allotted to her
husband. Bayley then suggests that the
inscriptions were actually made by Guildford Dudley himself or one of his
brothers in memory or honour of Jane Grey.
Bayley’s theory that sticks today. It
could be argued that if the inscription was made by one of the Dudley brothers,
then it might not in fact represent Lady Jane Grey but their mother, who was
also called Jane Dudley. The face that
two inscription of the same name survives may represent the two Jane’s within
the brothers lives, though it is up to the individual viewer to decide.
Treasures of the Tower Inscription, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, page 14
Brand. John, An Account of The Inscriptions Discovered on The Walls of An
Apartment in the Tower of London, Archaeologia, XIII, Page 68-91
 Nichols, J. G, The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years
of Queen Mary and Especially of the Rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt, Written by a
Resident in the Tower of London, Llanerch Publishers, 1850, page.25
Bayley, John, History and Antiquities of the Tower of London, 1825, page.162
On 25th April 1912, Prince Frederick Duleep Singh
visited Ketteringham Hall in Norfolk.
Singh visited a large number of properties across Norfolk where he
documented the art collections seen and published a book in 1927 detailing his
findings. In the book, entitled
Portraits in Norfolk Houses, Singh recorded a portrait thought in 1912 to
represent Lady Jane Grey.
Ketteringham Hall was built in the fifteenth century and was
home to Henry Grey of Ketteringham. By
1492 the property had passed to the Heveningham
family. It was purchased in the nineteenth century by John Peter
Boileau, archaeologist, Vice-President of the Society of Antiquaries, London,
and collector of antiquaries. The hall
was dramatically remodelled during the
nineteenth century when it was purchased by Boileau to house his vast
collection of antiques and collectables.
In the past and today, Ketteringham Hall has laid claim that it was once the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, and it is only fitting that it should have housed a portrait of her. As discussed above, the house was no longer in ownership of the Grey family during the sixteenth century, and there is no documented evidence to state that Jane Grey ever visited the property.
At the time Prince Frederick Duleep Singh visited the
property, it had passed by descent to Sir Maurice Colborne Boileau, grandson of
John Peter Boileau. The Hall would eventually be used as an active US Air Force
base, and by 1948 the family opted to sell Ketteringham off, when it was then
purchased by the Duke of Westminster.
Singh provides a detailed description in his book of the
portrait thought to depict Lady Jane Grey seen in 1912. The entry reads as follows.
Lady Jane Dudley, H(ead) and S(houlders). Body, face and
blue eyes all turned towards the sinister (viewers left), fair hair parted and
flat, roll over each ear, and small row of rolls over the head, black cap on
the head falling at one side and behind. Dress: black with white fur round the
neck and down the front, also on each side of the arms. Blue background, min(iature)
square. Age 18.
No other information concerning this portrait has surfaced, and
it appears never to have been exhibited as a portrait of Lady Jane Grey. The painting was initially thought to be lost due
to the contents of Ketteringham Hall being sold off over the years at auction.
During his own research into the many portraits thought to depict Lady Jane Grey, John Stephan Edwards was the first to acknowledge and create awareness of the Ketteringham Hall portrait in modern times. He briefly discussed it in the appendix of his book concerning lost portraits once thought to be Jane Grey. Edwards compared Singh’s description of the painting to a portrait also thought to depict Lady Jane Grey at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. He expressed uncertainty as to whether the portrait was still at Ketteringham Hall today.
Further research into the Ketteringham Hall portrait completed
by myself suggests that it was actually sold in 1947. By this point the
portrait had lost its identity and no connection was made at that time that the
portrait was ever thought to depict lady Jane Grey.
In 1947, a large four-day auction took place of the contents
of Ketteringham Hall. It is highly likely that the portrait once seen by Singh
and given a detailed description in his book as a portrait of Lady Jane Grey was
sold on the first day of sale as part of one lot containing three items.
Lot 357. Miniature, Lady with a white lace collar, ditto fur
collar and silhouette.
It appears that this lot was purchased, along with several
other lots from the 1947, sale by Rev William Hall and his son Bryan Hall. Both father and son were avid collectors of
antiques and frequent visitors to sales of county house collections. Bryan Hall would eventually acquire a large
collection of more than 2,200 antiques during his lifetime and all where held
within his home of Banningham old Rectory, which on occasions he would open for
The miniature portrait remained in Hall’s collection until 2004. By this point, the elderly Bryan Hall put his entire collection up for auction, facilitated by Bonham’s Auctioneers. This consisted of a three-day sale of the contents of Banningham Old Rectory. The Ketteringham Hall portrait, along with another miniature close in comparison to the 1947 catalogue description of ‘a woman in a lace collar, and a large quantity of silhouettes were sold during this sale. The provenance for these items could be traced back to Ketteringham Hall. Lot 89 of the Bonham’s sale is of particular interest when looking at the lost Ketteringham Hall portrait of Lady Jane Grey. It is referred to in the catalogue as
Lot 89. Bernard Lens III (1750/6-1808), A portrait of a lady dressed as Mary Queen of Scots, in
black dress slashed to reveal white fur, pearl necklace and black cap Water
colour on ivory rectangular 45mm, in a gilded wood frame.
Though the provenance for lot 89 was not fully documented in the auction catalogue, Singh’s description was included in the literature accompanying the lot. The auction house commented that this portrait does not conform to other known portraits of Lady Jane Grey and lists the sitter’s identity as Mary Queen of Scots.
When comparing Singh’s description to the photograph of lot 89, there does appear to be a match. If this picture is the lost Ketteringham Hall portrait, then this brings about the question as to why an eighteenth-century portrait of Mary Queen of Scots became known as Lady Jane Grey by 1912.
One possible reason for this is the purchase of NPG764 by
the National Portrait Gallery, London.
By 1912, this was being exhibited as a portrait of Lady Jane Grey, and
this does share some similarities in style and composition to the Ketteringham
Hall portrait. It may just be possible
that the Boileau family or Singh himself concluded that, due to the
similarities, the portrait at Ketteringham Hall must also depict Lady Jane
Grey. During the early 20th century, several books were written and
published concerning the iconography of Mary Queen of Scots, including one
written by Lionel Cust, who briefly discussed the similarities in costume
between both images.
The portrait on which the Ketteringham Hall image is based
was widely copied during the eighteenth century as an image of Mary and would
generally be referred to as the Okney type by art historians. It appears that the copy produced by Bernard
Lens in vast quantities was based on a sixteenth century miniature portrait
once in the collection of the Duke of Hamilton prior to 1710.
George Vertue discussed this in his notebooks, having seen
the original miniature in person.
“This duke of Hamilton
that lived at the manor house at East Acton had great collections of Indian
work and china and many curious limning portraits some of them excellent and
rare in number about fifty or sixty… so many as was exposed to sale in
1745. No. 28 Mary Qu. Scots, this is the
original limning which the Duke of Hamilton had recovered and valued most
extremely – showed it at court and everywhere for a true genuine picture of the
queen everywhere from thence it was copied in water colours enamel many and
many times for all persons pining after it thousands of illuminated copies – spread everywhere – this picture
itself – tho amended by or repaired by L. Crosse who was ordered to make it as
beautiful as he could – by the duke.
Still is a roundish face not agreeable to those most certain pictures of
her – but his attestation of its being genuine, later part of Qu. Anns time it
took and prest upon the public in such an extraordinary manner”
The fact that Vertue himself expressed doubt in the eighteenth century as to whether the original miniature portrait was a representation of Mary Queen of Scots is interesting and today doubt as to the true identity of the sitter continues.
The above image was sold through Phillips Auctions of London, on 10th November 1998 and was associated with the court painter Levina Teerlinc. Painted on vellum and applied to card, a faint description on the back was recorded in the auction catalogue identifying the sitter as “Queen Mary”. The painting was officially sold as a portrait believed to be that of Mary Neville, Lady Dacre, with the auction house noting similarities to other known portraits of this sitter.
The provenance for this miniature is recorded as being in
the collection of the Duke of Buckingham at Stowe house. It appears in the 1849 sales catalogue were
it was again described as a portrait of “Mary Tudor, Queen of England”. The portrait was then purchased by John Webb
who was a prominent collector of antiques in the mid nineteenthcentury
and on his death in 1880, it then passed to his daughter Edith Webb and was eventually
sold at Christie’s Auction, London, on the 24th June 1925.
When looking at this miniature it does appear to be too much
of a coincidence to suggest that the similarities to the Okney Type is purely
chance. The similarities between this portrait
and early copies made by Bernard Lens are exceedingly close, though Lens’s
later copy has been altered to portray a younger and thinner sitter and some
slight differences are seen with the gold coif worn under the hood. Due to the similarities seen it is my opinion
that this may just be the original miniature owned by the Duke of Hamilton and
reported by George Vertue to have sold in 1745.
The fact that the Teerlinc miniature also includes an early
inscription identifying the sitter as “Queen Mary” does give this opinion some
back up. It may just be possible that
the identification as to which Mary it was meant to represent may have just got
lost during its history. What is for
certain is that the Teerlinc miniature neither represents Mary Tudor or Mary
Queen of Scots and the similarities to portraits of Mary Neville as discussed
in the auction catalogue is striking.
The ketteringham Hall portrait most certainly was created during the eighteenth century and therefore cannot be a portrait of Lady Jane Grey painted from life. The portrait was originally painted as an image of Mary Queen of Scots that was mislabelled by 1912 when seen by Prince Frederick Duleep Singh. This can now be removed from any list of potential likenesses of Lady Jane Grey.
Singh. Prince Frederick Duleep, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, Jarrold and Sons,
Ltd, Vol I, Page 361
John Stephan, A Queen of a New Invention Portraits of Lady Jane Grey, Old John
Publishing, 2015, page 189. Electronic communication, David Adams, Property
Manager suggest that no portrait matching Singh’s description is currently in
the collection at Ketteringham Hall today.
K.H Fielding Auctioneer. Ketteringham Hall, Norwich. Catalogue of Antique
Furniture Old Silver, Glass, oil Paintings and other Effects, 22nd
July 1947, Page 9. My sincere thanks to
Mary Parker for the assistance with the location of a copy of this catalogue
and information regarding the Ketteringham sale.
a portrait of Mary Tudor when Princess on behalf of Queen Victoria during the
Christies sale on 24th May 1881, RCIN20944 has caused much debate
among art historians over the years. The
sitter has been identified as at least three different members of the royal
family from the Tudor period, and for around twenty-six years the sitter was
thought to be Lady Jane Grey. Two
artists have been associated with its creation, though no proof has surfaced to
establish a known creator. Due the
sitter once being identified as Lady Jane Grey, I have decided to discuss this
painting on this website.
RCIN420944 depicts a young lady facing full frontal, with grey eyes and light red hair. She wears a bodice of gold damask fabric cut square at the neck and a partlet of contrasting fabric with small figure-of-eight ruff that surrounds her face. A black loose gown with small puff sleeves and false hanging sleeves is also seen worn by the sitter and is fastened at the front with the use of gold aglets. The sitter wears two chains around her neck of goldsmith work and pearls, and suspended from one is a large jewel containing five square cut diamonds and a large hanging pearl. On her head she wears a hair net which again consists of goldsmith work, and a pink and white flower is also arranged within the sitter’s hair. She is depicted on a blue background within a gold boarder. The beginning of an inscription stating “AÑO” is also seen on the left-hand side.
known regarding the early provenance for this painting or how the image became
identified as a portrait of Mary Tudor when Princess. The first documented record concerning the
provenance of this portrait located to date is the sales catalogue for the
collector and poet Samuel Rogers.
Following his death in 1855, his vast collection of art and antiques were
sold as part of an eighteen-day sale commencing on 28th April 1856
at Messrs. Christie and Manson, St James Square. RCIN420944 was sold on the eighth day of sale
and is officially recorded in the catalogue as “lot 960. Princess Mary,
daughter of Henry VIII, after Holbein.”
was purchased by collector Charles Sackville Bale, who appears not to have
questioned the identity of the sitter or artist associated with it. An early photographic image of the portrait
appears in a book published in 1864 by Amelia B Edwards, and the portrait was
also submitted to The Miniature Portrait Exhibition of 1865 at the South Kensington
Museum. Both the book and exhibition
catalogue again refer to the portrait as “Queen Mary I of England, by Holbein,”
with the exhibition catalogue also noting that the portrait was purchased from
the collection of Samuel Rogers.
death of Charles Sackville Bale in 1880, the miniature sold from his collection
and entered the Royal Collection. The
auction took place on 24th May 1881 and again the miniature was
noted as “lot 1420 Mary Tudor, Queen of England, by H. Holbein”
within the catalogue for the sale.
of entering the Royal collection, the sitter’s identity and the artist
associated with its creation was challenged. Lady Jane
Grey was put forward as a possible candidate and the miniature would continue
to be described as a portrait of Jane for the next two decades.
written by Richard Holmes, librarian to Queen Victoria, and published in 1884
in the English Illustrated Magazine does give us some clues as to the reason
for the change of identification. This
article appears to be the first time the portrait was publicly published as an
image of Lady Jane Grey, and the article also included an engraving of the
painting noting Jane as the sitter in its title. Holmes reports the reasons for the change in
identity as follows
“of the painters who must have worked in England between the
time of Holbein and Hillard, a capital specimen has within the last few years
been added to the number of royal portraits.
It is that of Lady Jane Grey, of which we give an engraving. It had passed for many years as a portrait of
princess, afterwards Queen Mary, but it is unlike her in every feature. That it represents a Tudor Princess is
undoubted, as in her hair are the red and white roses. It corresponds with all
that is known of the characteristics of the unfortunate Lady Jane, and fills an
important gap in the series of portraits of the Tudor Line”
What is interesting about the above statement is that Holmes
reports that the sitter depicted in the miniature was thought at that time to
correspond with all that was known of the characteristics of Lady Jane Grey. This then brings about the question as to
what was actually known about Jane’s characteristics at that time. This article
was written prior to the publication of Richard Davey’s biography on Jane in
1909, which contained the only detailed description of a small, freckled and
red haired, Jane Grey entering the Tower of London as Queen on 10th
July 1553, known to date. Today, this
description has been discovered to be a mere forgery. No other description documenting the details
of Jane’s features has surfaced, which suggest that almost nothing was known
regarding what Jane looked like, other than vague references referring to her
as pretty which were made at a later date.
The miniature portrait was
publicly exhibited in 1890 at the Royal House of Tudor Exhibition held
at the New Gallery, London. Within the
exhibition catalogue, the portrait is recorded as coming from the collection of
Her Majesty the Queen and referring to as “1068. Lady Jane Grey. By N.
Hilliard, formerly in the collection of Charles Sackville Bale.” It was probably around this point in time that a red leather label was attached to
the back of the frame noting that the sitter depicted was “Lady Jane Grey/Born
The portrait continued to be displayed as an image of Lady Jane
Grey and was Exhibited in the New Gallery exhibition of 1901 as a portrait of her. In 1906, Richard Holmes again discussed the
miniature in an article written for the Burlington Art Magazine on Nicholas
Lionel Cust, director of the National Portrait gallery,
London, appears to be the first to question the identification of Lady Jane
Grey as the sitter in RCIN420944. In
1910, he produced a privately printed catalogue for the Royal Collection
regarding the miniature portraits held within the Royal Palaces at that
time. In this, Cust dismisses the
identification of Jane Grey and suggests Elizabeth I as an alternative sitter,
noting that the miniature may have been produced by Levina Teerlinc and not
Nicholas Hilliard. Nothing is documented
in the book to inform us as to why Cust came to this conclusion, though it
would be tempting to speculate that he noted the costume worn by the sitter was
a little too late in period to be an authentic portrait of Lady Jane Grey.
The Identification of the sitter as Elizabeth was further strengthened
in 1962 when the Royal Collection purchased another miniature portrait similar
in composition and style to RCIN420944 at Christie’s auction. This miniature is recorded in the catalogue
for sale, taking place on April 10th at Christie’s auction house,
London, as “A Lady, probably Princess Elizabeth, Later Queen Elizabeth I.” A
description also noted that the miniature was painted on a playing card, and seen
on the reverse of is blind stamp consisting of the letter C and a Crown. 
This was immediately associated with a
description made in 1637 of a miniature portrait seen by Abraham Van der Doort,
Surveyor of the Kings Pictures and described in an inventory made of the
collection of King Charles I.
“Item don upon the right lighte in a white ivory box/ wthout
a Christall a Certaine Ladies Picture in her haire/ in a gold bone lace little ruff,
and black habbitt/ lined wth furr with goulden tissue sleeves/ with one hand
over another supposed to have bin/ Queen Elizabeth before shee came to the Crowne.
By an unknown hand”
Upon the purchase of the second miniature by the Royal
Collection, both were thought to depict the same individual. Due to the early Van der Doort description it
was therefore thought that both miniatures represented the young Queen
Elizabeth in the early years of her reign. Both images continue to be
catalogued as Elizabeth I today.
Author Roy Strong was noted not to include either miniature
in his 1963 book entitled Portrait of Queen Elizabeth. He was observed to briefly discuss them in the
1987 revised version Gloriana The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. When discussing both miniatures, he
interestingly notes that “of the two miniatures, one is more certainly of her
than the other.” It could be argued that both images depict
separate individuals rather than a portrait of the same person. There does appear to be significant
differences in the composition and costume worn by both individuals to identify
that one is not a direct copy of the other.
Whoever RCIN420944 depicts will continue to be debated among
art historians, but Lionel Cust was right back in 1910 to question the identity
of the sitter being Lady Jane Grey. There appears to be nothing within the
image to suggest that the portrait was painted of her, and no detailed
description survives today that tells us anything about what she looked
like. This image can now be removed from
any list of potential likenesses thought to depict her.
Messrs. Christies and Manson, Sales Catalogue, April 28th, 1856,
Page 90, lot 960
Christie’s, Sales Catalogue, 24th May 1881, Page 109, lot 1420
Holmes. Richard, The Royal Collection of Miniatures at Windsor Castle, English
Illustrated Magazine, July 1184
For more details on the new finding regarding Davey’s description of Jane see:
Edwards John, Queen of a New Invention, Old John Publishing, 2015, page 177 and
DeLisle. Leanda, Sisters Who Would Be Queen, Harper Press, 2008
Christie’s Sale Catalogue, 10th April 1962, Page 20
O’Donoghue,F.M, A Descriptive and Classified Catalogue of Portraits of Queen
Elizabeth , 1894, page 27, no 7
Strong. Roy, Gloriana The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, 1987, Page 55
Sold at Sotheby’s auction house, London, on 13th
September 1983 as lot 90, The Beaufort Miniature is one of the more recent
paintings to be sold with the sitter tentatively suggested to be Lady Jane
Grey. The painting is associated with
the artist Levina Teerlinc and is painted on vellum. The Sotheby’s sale
included a second miniature attributed to the same artist, and both were
formerly held in the collection of Henry Somerset, 12th Duke of
Before we study this miniature portrait in detail, we must
first examine the artist associated with it and determine whether Levina
Teerlinc would have had access to paint Lady Jane Grey. Born around 1510, Teerlinc was the daughter
of the famous Flemish illustrator Simon Benninck, and it is highly likely that
she was taught to paint by her father. By
1546, she was married, working, and living in England. Teerlinc was granted a salary of forty pounds
a year by Henry VIII, and she is documented as having worked for the English
crown until her death in 1576.
Teerlinc is a bit of an enigma. Artists of the sixteenth century, even those
with a large surviving output, are ordinarily not well documented today. But
the reverse is true of Teerlinc. The State Papers of four separate Tudor
monarchs include specific mention of her, yet no portrait reliably attributable
to her is known to have survived today.
In July 1983, a small number of miniature portraits were grouped together for the first time and exhibited as part of the Portrait Miniature Rediscovered Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. All were painted between 1546-1576, or during the period between the deaths of both Hans Holbein and Lucas Hornebolte in the 1540’s and the rise of Nicolas Hillard in the 1570’s. All of the images were thought in 1983 to have been produced by Levina Teerlinc, though there is no surviving evidence to prove that assertion conclusively.  All of the miniatures do show some similarities in draughtsmanship. The sitters do all have rather large heads and stick-like arms, and some similarities in the brushwork were also noted, including the use of loose wash work to create the features. Since the completion of the exhibition, a number of other miniature portraits showing the same compositional mannerisms, including the Beaufort Miniature, have been sold at auction and have also been associated with Teerlinc.
Among the group of miniatures exhibited in the Portrait Miniature Rediscovered Exhibition and associated with Teerlinc is a portrait now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Purchased by the museum in June 1979, it is called Lady Katherine Grey due to an early inscription on the back that reads “The La Kathn Graye/wyfe of th’ Erle of/ Hertford”. If the identity of the sitter and artist associated with this painting is correct, then Teerlinc most certainly had access to Jane’s sister. Teerlinc is also documented as producing several images of Elizabeth, including receiving payment in 1551 for a portrait of her as princess. Susan James has also suggested that Teerlinc painted Catherine Parr, which suggests that Teerlinc came into contact with people that Jane would have known personally. There is the slight possibility that she might have come into contact with Jane herself.
The Beaufort Miniature depicts a young lady, seen to below the waist and facing the viewer’s left. Both hands are depicted in front, and she is holding a pair of gloves in her right hand, which has a ring on the fourth finger. On her head, she wears a French hood with both upper and lower billaments made up of goldsmith work and pearls. A black veil is also seen hanging down at the back. A black loose gown with a fur collar and fitted mutton leg sleeves is worn by the sitter. At her neck she wears a small ruff edged with gold thread. The sitter is depicted on a blue background with a gold border.
As discussed above, the miniature had previously been in the
collection of Henry Somerset, 12th Duke of Beaufort.
In the auction catalogue at the time of
the sale, the lot was officially titled “An Important Married Lady at The Tudor
Court.” The suggestion that the sitter could possibly be Lady Jane Grey was
made within the description that accompanied the lot. The catalogue reported similarities in the
facial features of the sitter depicted in the Beaufort Miniature and the
miniature portrait of Lady Katherine Grey at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It
then went on to suggest Lady Jane Grey is the sitter and that the image was
“taken shortly before her death in 1554”. The catalogue did rightfully record that there
is no proof to back up this theory. A
second miniature also associated with Teerlinc and sold during the same auction
was similarly suggested to depict Jane Grey’s mother, Lady Frances Brandon.  When looking at the Beaufort miniature and
the other thought to depict Lady Katherine Grey side by side, there does appear
to be some similarities in the faces, but this cannot be used today as the sole
reason to identify a sitter within a painting.
There are other clues in the painting that give us some indication that
the sitter is not, in fact, Lady Jane Grey.
The ruff seen in the painting appears to be the only major datable aspect. The ruff was an essential part of the Tudor wardrobe by the mid sixteenth and early seventeenth century and was worn across Europe in a variety of styles. In the case of the Beaufort Miniature, we see an example from the early stages of the evolution of the ruffs. It appears to be attached to the sitter’s partlet rather than worn as a separate item that was starched and fixed in place, as was seen in later periods.
To trace the evolution of the ruff worn in Britain, we must first look at the fashion worn by ladies during the 1540’s. It was during this period that it became more favourable for ladies to cover the chest rather than the previous fashion of the chest being revealed by the low-cut French gowns. As seen in a portrait thought to depict Katherine Howard and now in the Royal Collection. This was achieved with the use of a partlet. Worn beneath the bodice and tied under the arms this would have been made from a fine fabric.
By the end of the 1540’s and early 1550’s, ladies continued to wear the partlet, however, this had developed slightly. Surviving portraits from this period show that the partlet continued to be constructed from a fine fabric similar to what would have been used to create the chemise, though this had been fitted with a neck band to create a small frill or collar. The addition of a second partlet known as an outer partlet made with a v-shaped collar of a contrasting fabric to the outer gown could also be worn over this.
By the mid 1550’s, the small frill seen at the neck had
again grown in size and had begun to surround the face, similar in style to
what is seen in the Beaufort Miniature. This
ruffle would eventually develop into the ruff seen in the later periods after
the 1560’s and would eventually become a separated from the partlet altogether. 
When compared to portraits painted during the later half of
the 1550’s, including one of an unknown lady in the collection of the
Fitzwilliam Museum dating to 1555 and another of Mary Neville in the National
Portrait Gallery dating to 1559 the Beaufort Miniature appears to sit in the
middle with the ruffle looking as though it is still attached to a partlet as
seen in the Fitzwilliam portrait and without the use of wire or starch to
create the defined figure of eight shape seen in the portrait of Mary Neville.
Though arguably there are some similarities in the facial
features of the Beaufort Miniature and the V&A miniature of Lady Katherine
Grey, this could be attributed to the artist’s style rather than to family resemblance.
It is my opinion that the sitter depicted in the Beaufort Miniature is wearing
a ruffle that is slightly too late in period to have been worn by Lady Jane
Grey. The miniature is unlikely to have been painted prior to 1554 as the
catalogue suggests. Though a beautiful
little picture, there is no evidence to suggest that it was thought prior to
the 1983 auction to be an image of Jane Grey. This can now be removed from the
list of any likenesses thought to depict Lady Jane Grey.
Strong. Roy, The English Renaissance Miniature, Thames and Hudson, 1983, page
 James. Susan, The Feminine Dynamic in English
Art, 1485-1603, Women as Consumers, Patrons and Painter, Ashgate Publishing,
Strong. Roy, Artists of the Tudor Court, The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered
1520-1620, Thames and Hudson, 1983, page 52
James. Susan, The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 1485-1603, Women as
Consumers, Patrons and Painter, Ashgate Publishing, 2009, page 27
 Artist file for Levina Teerlinc, Heinz
Archive, National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG50/21/250, accessed 2018. It is not known exactly when the Duke acquired the miniature,
but a photograph taken in 1983 lists the sitter as “Unknown Lady.” This
suggests that the sitter was not thought to depict Jane Grey prior to the sale
of that same year.
Sotheby’s Auction Catalogue, 13th September 1983, page 31. Purchased
by the Victorian and Albert Museum in 1983 this miniature is catalogued today
as “unknown lady”
For further information on the evolution of the ruff see Arnold. Janet, Pattern
of Fashion 4, The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear,
headwear and accessories for men and women c.1540-1660, Macmillan, 2008.
The information associated with many portraits thought to
depict Lady Jane Grey is often fragmented. In the case of the Gibson portrait,
only a letter and a photographic image submitted to The Connoisseur Magazine in
1911 exist to inform us that the sitter depicted was thought to be that of Lady
Jane Grey. This portrait has not yet been
located and studied and I have been unable to locate any other information
regarding the provenance of this painting. Neither has any information surfaced
to show that this portrait was ever included in any public exhibition as a depiction
of Lady Jane Grey.
Jane G. Gibson, the then owner of the portrait, submitted a
request to the magazine’s readers for further information regarding the
identity of the sitter and artist associated with this painting. No published replies to her request have been
located, which suggests that unfortunately Gibson did not get the information
she was looking for.
Within her letter, Gibson reported that a scrap of paper was
attached to the back of the painting identifying the sitter as “Jana Graia
Holbein pinxit”. She also noted that the painting was examined
by Sir George Scharf, Director of The National Portrait Gallery, London, who,
she explains “thought it to be a genuine portrait, by the School of Clouet.” Gibson does not, however, recall any thoughts
Scharf had regarding the identity of the sitter. She appears to dismiss the identification of
the sitter as Lady Jane Grey, reporting that the scrap of paper is a “manifest
forgery” and noting that “Jane Grey was a mere child at the time of Holbein’s
death”. Gibson also dismisses Scharf’s
opinion that the painting is associated with the school of Clouet noting that
the work “resembles other painting’s produced by Holbein”. She is correct when expressing doubt over the
identification of the sitter, though the portrait’s association with Hans
Holbein is also dubious.
A large number of portraits held in private collections or
sold at auction were associated with Hans Holbein during the nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries. That included
a small number of portraits thought at the time to depict Lady Jane Grey. Paintings sold between the nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries where simply grouped and associated with the most
famous artists working within the sixteenth century. Little evidence to support the associations
were given by the auction houses, and access to information and research into
lesser known artists was limited. A
search of the Getty Provenance Database shows that a total of 1563 paintings
associated with Holbein and sold at auction between the years of 1800- 1900. It
is highly unlikely that Holbein would have had the time to paint 1563 portraits
during his lifetime, and therefore not all could have been painted by his hand
alone. It is more probable that a number
of the images sold between 1800-1900 were associated with him due to the fame attached
to his name, some similarities in style or as a way of adding value to the
As stated above, Gibson is right when noting that the sitter
seen in the portrait is too old to be a depiction of Lady Jane Grey, though this
does not dismiss the fact that Holbein could have possibly painted a portrait
of her. Holbein did have access to and created
a number of images of Jane’s family members including Margaret Wotton,
Elizabeth Grey, Eleanor Brandon, and Charles and Henry Brandon. This does suggest that he could have possibly
had access to Jane Grey as well, though the likelihood of a portrait surfacing of
Jane by Holbein today very slim. Holbein
died in 1543, and if a portrait was ever to surface painted by him then it most
definitely would have to depict a small child rather than the fully developed
lady seen in the Gibson portrait.
Though the quality of the early photographic image submitted
is poor and some of the finer details are lost, the costume worn by the sitter
does give us some clues as to the period in which the portrait was created. We can see from the image is that the portrait
depicts a young female, painted to below the waist and facing the viewer’s left. Both hands are depicted in front, and four
rings can be seen on her fingers. The
sitter also holds what appears to be a flower in her right hand. On her head she wears an early example of the
French Hood, and her gown has a square cut neckline with large bell-shaped
sleeves and fitted false undersleeves. Two
necklaces of goldsmith work are worn around the neck, and a circular brooch is
pinned to the front of the kirtle and tucked into the bodice of the outer gown.
The exact date on which the French Hood was first worn in
England is unknown, however, it is traditionally thought that this originates
with Mary Rose Tudor, sister to Henry VIII, returning from France after the
death of her husband in 1515. The hood originated in France and was worn
towards the end of the fifteenth century. Prior to its arrival in England, ladies wore
the traditional Gable Hood seen in the many paintings of Elizabeth of York and
Katherine of Aragon. The French Hood
became more popular in England when King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn, who
was also noted to have spent a period of time in France.
It would eventually overtake the Gable
Hood in popularity and was worn as a popular item until the end of the
sixteenth century. Slight changes in its
appearance and construction occurred during its popularity that can help us to
identify a possible narrow period in which a portrait was painted.
The hood worn by the sitter in the Gibson portrait has
elongated side panels stretching to just beyond the jaw-line and is similar in
style to the image seen above left. This
portrait of Isabella of Austria painted around 1515 shows the French hood in
its early stages of development and around the time the hood is thought to have
been introduced to England. By the
1530’s, the front shape of the hood changed slightly, and the side panels
became shorter in appearance, ending just below the ear. Upper and lower billaments were also used to
add decoration. This can be seen in the famous
image of Anne Boleyn above middle. By the 1540’s, the side panels of the hood
were more concaved in appearance rather than the longer version seen in the
Gibson Portrait which shows us that the sitter in the Gibson Portrait is
wearing a hood that was still in its early stages of development when the
portrait was painted.
Though it cannot be known for certain until the portrait is
located and studied further, the style of costume worn by the sitter is more
consistent with that worn during the early part of the sixteenth century, prior
to the 1530’s. If the portrait is English,
then it most certainly cannot be a depiction of Lady Jane Grey, as the costume
seen is not something that would have been worn by her during her lifetime. The
Gibson portrait can now be removed from any list of potential likenesses
thought to depict Lady Jane Grey.
The Connoisseur Magazine, vol XXXI, September-December 1911, page 250
Sold at Christie’s auction, London, on 9th December 2016, lot 151 was rightfully described as a portrait of Katherine de Vere, Lady Windsor (1540-1600) and associated to the artist known today as Master of The Countess of Warwick. What is not commonly known about this painting is that prior to the 1960’s, it was thought to depict Lady Jane Grey. Due to this painting once being associated with Jane Grey, I have decided to discuss it on this website. This portrait is a good example of how Jane Grey’s name was applied to a sixteenth century portrait, depicting a female sitter, even if the inscription detailing facts about the sitter did not match with what was known about Jane.
The Arkwright portrait shows a lady, painted to just above
the waist and facing the viewer’s left. She has auburn hair that is pulled away
from the face, and her eyes are blue. The
sitter wears a black loose gown/night gown, with large puffed short sleeves and
a high collar. This style of gown was
popular in England from the 1530’s onwards. It was worn as an alternative to
the tight-fitted French Gowns with the low square necklines and large sleeves. Generally worn over a kirtle by both the
middle and upper class lady, this gown was easier to put on independently due
to its front fastening and was a comfortable gown to wear during the day or when
in the bedchamber as informal wear. During the 1560’s the loose gown became
tighter and more fitted around the bodice, much like that seen in the Arkwright
portrait. An embroidered chemise is also
seen worn under the gown. This is embroidered using black and gold thread and
incorporates the use of an acorn within the design. A small figure-of-eight ruff is worn
surrounding the face. This is also
embroidered with black work and gold thread.
On her head, she wears a French hood with an upper and lower billament
of goldsmith work containing gemstones and pearls. The traditional black veil
is also visible falling from the back of the hood. A small cross suspended from a pearl necklace
is seen at the neck, and she holds with her left hand a large pendant suspended
from a larger necklace of goldwork. The
sitter is depicted in front of a brown background, and a contemporary inscription
in the top left-hand corner has been added identifying the sitter’s age as
twenty-four and the year as 1567.
The artist associated with the Arkwright portrait is an anonymous
painter who is known to have produced several portraits of female sitters
during the second half of the sixteenth century. We do know that he worked in England between
the years of 1567-1569 and that he also painted a portrait of Anne Russell,
Countess of Warwick, now at Woburn Abbey.
As a result, other works thought to have been produced by this artist
are simply grouped under the attribution of “Master of The Countess of Warwick.”
The only evidence I have been able to locate to date which shows
us that this painting was indeed thought in the past to depict Jane Grey is an
early photographic image stored in the Heinz Archives, London.
This photograph shows the Arkwright painting prior to modern cleaning and
restoration. What is seen from the above
image is that an inscription was added to the panel surface on the left-hand side
at some point to inform the viewer that this portrait was supposed to be of Lady Jane Grey.
This inscription no longer survives on the panel surface today. This suggests that during the recent cleaning
process it was identified to be a much later addition, and it was removed from
As with many of the other portraits thought to represent Jane
Grey, no information has been located about the Arkwright portrait to inform us,
the modern-day viewer, when and why this painting was thought to depict her. It is possible that her name was simply
attached to the Arkwright portrait in the nineteenth or early twentieth century
due to a high demand and need for a physical image of Jane Grey. During the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Jane’s popularity was at its height. Many
published biographies, plays, and paintings depicting various scenes from her
life were created during this period. This in turn made Jane’s story more accessible
to the viewing public and in some cases captured people’s interest in her as a
historical figure. Her popularity then created a demand for her image and
allowed owners of various portraits that fitted with what was being recorded at
that time to attach her name to their painting with no evidence to support this. Today, some of these portraits are now being
re-evaluated due to easier access to documentation, a better understanding of
the progression of fashion during the sixteenth century, and new scientific
techniques which were not available during the earlier periods.
What is clear from the early photograph of the Arkwright
portrait is that the identification as an image of Jane Grey was made with very
little thought. The inscription clearly
indicates the sitter’s age as twenty-four and the year as 1567. Both the age and the date are inconsistent
with Jane Grey. It may have been possible that the owner who had the Jane Grey
inscription applied to the panel surface may have thought the earlier
inscription to be false and a later addition.
This cannot be known for certain due to missing documentation. Jane Grey’s birth has over the centuries been
debated by various writers due to lack of documentation, and no exact date is
known. It was commonly known and recorded, however, that she died in 1554 and
was sixteen/seventeen years old at the time of her death. This does bring about the question as to why
her name was attached to a portrait with incorrect information.
In a book published by Roy Strong in 1969 entitled The English Icon the provenance for the
Arkwright portrait was briefly discussed. Strong records that the portrait was once in
the collection at Hampton Court, Herefordshire and that by 1969 the portrait
was in the collection of David Arkwright Esq, who was noted to live at Kinsham
Hampton Court Castle, as it is known today, dates to the
fifteenth century and was home to the Coningsby family from 1510 until 1810. The
castle and estate were then purchased by John Arkwright (1785-1858), the great
grandson of the cotton-spinning industrialist Sir Richard Arkwright. The estate remained in the family until it was
sold by Sir John Stanhope Arkwright (1872-1954) in 1910. John Stanhope Arkwright then purchased
Kinsham Court, Herefordshire, and it appears he had taken the portrait with him.
David Lyndon Arkwright (1911-1983) inherited Kinsham Court from his father in
1954. He died without ever marrying or producing issue in 1983, leaving Kinsham
Court and its contents to his mother’s great niece Mrs. Susan Wood.
Two years after Susan Wood inherited Kinsham Court, the
portrait appears for the first time at auction on 19th July 1985, when
it was sold by Christie’s Auction House, London as a portrait of Katherine de
Vere. By 2016, the portrait was once again up for public auction, and it was
again described as a portrait of Katherine de Vere, Lady Windsor
It appears that prior to 1969 the Arkwright portrait was compared
to an almost identical image thought to be by the same artist and now in the collection
of the Marquess of Bute. That painting uses the identical individual portrait
image seen in the Arkwright portrait, though the sitter is painted three
quarter length and is incorporated into a family group. The Bute Family Portrait includes a contemporary
inscription made by the artist identifying the year in which the portrait was
painted and the sitter’s ages. A later
inscription has also been added to the panel surface that identifies the sitter’s
as Edward Lord Windsor, and his lady,
daughter to the Earl of Oxford. Their children, Lord Frederick Windsor, Lord
Thomas Windsor, and two younger brothers.
Though this inscription is a later addition, it does appear to be an
early one. In some cases, inscriptions
that included the names of the sitters where applied to a portrait at some
later period in time by other family members in hopes of fixing the identities
of the sitters depicted before they passed from living memory. This is very similar to what we do today with
photographs of loved ones. Though Edward
Windsor’s lady is not named within this description, he did marry Katherine de
Vere in 1555. Katherine de Vere was the
daughter of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, who is also noted in the
inscription, it was then decided that the Arkwright portrait was mostly likely
to depict Katherine de Vere and not Lady Jane Grey.
NPG018643, Artist Box, Master of The Countess of Warwick
Roy, The English Icon, Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraiture, 1969, page 108