Duke of Buccleuch's Holbein Conserved for HRP Exhibition

May 10 2021

Image of Duke of Buccleuch's Holbein Conserved for HRP Exhibition

Picture: HRP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Historic Royal Palace's upcoming Hampton Court exhibition Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King will be opening to the public on 20th May 2021. This delayed exhibition, which was originally planned for 2020 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, really does look like a treat for art and history lovers alike. The show will feature major loans from the Royal Collection and other various institutions and private collections.

In particular, the exhibition has allowed for the recent conservation and cleaning of the Duke of Buccleuch's portrait of Sir Nicholas Carew (c.1528) by Hans Holbein the Younger. This is an absolutely striking portrait, just as powerful as any armoured portrait you'll find in Italy during this period I'd say! Carew had jousted at the Field of the Cloth of Gold making the inclusion here very relevant.

Indeed, the work has long been described as the finest painting featuring early armour made from the Royal Workshops at Greenwich. These workshops were established in the exact same period when Holbein produced this image. The painting is a portrait of the armour as much as the man, details which I'm sure patrons like Carew and Henry would have adored and insisted on.

Update - We're just looking up what John Rowlands said about the work in his catalogue raisonne published in 1985, it seems that the attribution to Holbein may have been doubted in the past. More information soon.

Update 2 - A few readers have kindly been in touch with information that the painting was described as by 'Workshop or by an Associate of Holbein' in Susan Foister's Holbein and England (2005) book.

Update 3 - A reader has kindly shared the link to Holbein's preparatory drawing of Carew, kept in the Kunstmuseum, Basel.

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