How tree rings help solve a Tudor mystery

The most powerful image we have today of Henry the Eighth is thanks to a portrait the Monarch commissioned from a German painter called Hans Holbein the Younger.

 

IMG_7061
The painting of Henry V111 at the Victoria Art Gallery

 

It originally featured in a mural that also included the king’s wife – Jane Seymour- and his parents – Henry the 7th and Elizabeth of York.

The original was destroyed when Whitehall Palace was consumed by fire in 1698 but – thankfully – Henry recognised the iconic importance of this royal image and encouraged other artists to paint their own copies of the work to circulate amongst friends and ambassadors.

IMG_7060

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery was hoping the image of Henry they had in their collection was one of these Tudor copies but – until now – they couldn’t be sure.

P1170201

 

I have been along to talk to Collections Manager Katharine Wall to find out more about how their image of Henry has been put to the test.

I asked her first to explain how it came into their collection.