National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Edward VI as a Child Hans Holbein the Younger (painter)
German, 1497/1498 - 1543
Edward VI as a Child, probably 1538
oil on panel
overall: 56.8 x 44 cm (22 3/8 x 17 5/16 in.) framed: 80 x 68.6 x 10.2 cm (31 1/2 x 27 x 4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
On View
From the Tour: German Painting and Sculpture in the Late 1400s and 1500s
Object 9 of 12


Gift of the artist on 1 January 1539 to Henry VIII, King of England [1509-1547].[1] Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey [1585-1646], Arundel Castle, Sussex, and Arundel House, London, by 1639, and Amsterdam, from 1643;[2] by inheritance to his wife, Alathea Howard [d. 1654], Antwerp and Amsterdam.[3] Probably William III, King of England and Stadholder-King of the Netherlands [1650-1702], Het Loo, Apeldoorn, possibly by c. 1700.[4] Ernest Augustus I, Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover [1771-1851], Royal Castle, Georgengarten, Hanover, by 1844;[5] by descent to his son, George V, King of Hanover [1819-1878]; by descent to his son, Ernest Augustus II, Duke of Cumberland and Crown Prince of Hanover [1845-1923]; (P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London, by 1925); (M. Knoedler & Co., London and New York, 1925);[6] purchased July 1925 by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

[1] New Year's Gift Roll in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, Ms. Z. d. 11, dated "First daie of January anno xxx" of the reign of Henry VIII, "By hanse holbyne a table of the pictour of the prince grace." A photocopy is in NGA curatorial files. Regnal year 30 of the reign of Henry VIII ran from 22 April 1538 to 21 April 1539, hence the manuscript dates to 1539; see Christopher R. Cheney, Handbook of Dates for Students of English History (London, 1978), 24.

[2] The Earl of Arundel's portrait of Edward VI was copied in miniature by Peter Oliver; the miniature was catalogued by Abraham van der Doort in 1639 as part of the collection of Charles I, King of England, and added to the description are the words, "Coppied by Peter Olliver after Hanc Holbin whereof my Lord of Arrundel-hath ye Principall", see Oliver Millar, "Abraham van der Doort's Catalogue of the Collections of Charles I." Walpole Society 37 (1958-1960): 108, no. 22. The Earl of Arundel left England in 1641 and his collection was in Amsterdam in 1643; see Mary L. Cox, "Notes on the Collections formed by Thomas Howard," The Burlington Magazine 19 (1911): 282. Two other images identify what is evidently the Gallery's painting with the Arundel collection, the preparatory drawing and etching by Wenceslaus Hollar; the latter is inscribed: H Holbein pinxit. Wenceslaus Hollar fecit. ex Collectione Arundeliana. An. 1650. Horace Walpole added the handwritten emendation, "There is a print from this by Hollar." to the printed version of van der Doort's catalogue, George Vertue, A Catalogue and Description of King Charles the First's Capital Collection ... (London, 1757), 39-40, no. 22.

[3] Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, died in Padua in 1646, his will of 3 September 1640, left his possessions to his wife; see Charles Howard, Historical Anecdotes of Some of the Howard Family, (London, 1817), 93-96. Alathea Howard died in Amsterdam in 1654; an inventory in the Rijksarchief, Utrecht, of the Arundel collection made in Amersfoort in 1655 lists two portraits of Edward VI by Holbein, see F. H. C. Weijtens, De Arundel-Collectie. Commencement de la fin Amersfoort 1655. (Utrecht, 1971), 30, no. 19, "Eduwart de seste, Holben", and 31, no. 49, "Eduwardus den sesten, Holben". These correspond to an inventory in Italian in the Public Record Office, London, Cox, 1911, as per note 2 above, 323. It is assumed that the painting copied by Oliver and Hollar corresponds to one of the works listed. It is not clear what happened next to the collection. At the time of Alathea Howard's death, her only surviving son, William Viscount Stafford [d. 1680], claimed that a nuncupative will entitled him to her personal possessions including the art collection, but this was disputed by his nephew, Henry, who succeeded his father Henry Frederick [d. 1652] as Earl of Arundel and Surrey; see Mary F. S. Hervey, The Life, Correspondence, & Collections of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. (Cambridge, 1921), 473, and Weijtens, De Arundel-Collectie 1971, 18-24. Weijtens 1971, pl. 14, published a document of 11 October 1662 signed by the painter Herman Saftleven indicating that Lord Stafford's collection was probably sold in Utrecht in that year.

[4] S.W.A. Drossaers and Th. H. Lunsingh Scheurleer, Inventarissen van de inboedels in de verblijven an de Oranjes en daarmede gelijk te stellen stukken 1567-1795. 3 vols. (The Hague, 1974-1976), Inventaris van de inboedel van het Huis Het Loo, het Oude Loo en Het Huis Merwell, 1713, 1:679, no. 886, "Een koning Eduard van denselven [i.e. Holbein] met een descriptie van Richard Morosini" and Schilderijen die volgens het zeggen van den kunstbewaerder Du Val door Hare coninginne van Groot-Brittanniën zijn gereclameert geworden als tot de croon behorende. (1713), 700, no. 10, "Koning Eduart van dito [i.e. Holbein]." In margin, "Staet niet aengeteekent." As observed by Broos in Beatrijs Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij, et al., Paintings from England. William III and the Royal Collections. Exh. cat. Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen "Mauritshuis." (The Hague, 1988), 117, Du Val's marginal notation of "Not listed" (Staet niet aengeteekent) may be taken as an indication that the portrait was not on the list of works requested for return to the English Royal collection because it was acquired from a private collection, that of Arundel. Broos, 118, suggested , without verification, that the portrait was in Het Loo by about 1700 and that it hung next to a portrait of Henry VIII by Holbein as indicated in the 1713 inventory, Drossaers and Lunsingh Scheurleer 1974, no. 885, "Een Hendrick de Achtste van Holbeen". The portrait was in Het Loo in 1711 for in that year it was described by Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach; see Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach, Merkwürdige Reisen durch Niedersachsen Holland und Engelland. 3 vols. (Ulm, 1753-1754), 2: 376-377, who transcribed the inscription at the bottom of the painting, but believed that it represented Henry VIII as a child.

[5] It is not known exactly when and by what means the painting entered the Royal Collection. Broos, in Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij et al., 1988, 117-118, suggested that the portrait came to Germany from Het Loo as a result of the marriage in 1734 of William IV, King of the Netherlands, to Anna of Hanover, Duchess of Braunschweig-Lüneberg; this is unverified but intriguing. No portrait of Edward VI by Holbein appears in the inventories of 1709, 1754, 1781, and 1803; letter of 16 December 1977 to John Hand from Hans Georg Gmelin in NGA curatorial records. The earliest published mention of the picture is Justus Molthan, Verzeichniss der Bildhauerwerke und Gemälde welche sich in den königlich hannoverschen Schlössern und Gebäuden befinden. (Hanover, 1844), 65, no. 12, and conceivably it thus could have entered the collection sometime after 1803 and before 1844.

[6] Nancy C. Little, M. Knoedler & Co., letter of 2 March 1988 to John Hand, in NGA curatorial files, stating that the painting came to Knoedler's from Colnaghi in 1925. A rather sensational, but unverified, account of how the painting passed from the Duke of Cumberland's collection to Colnaghi's to a representative of Knoedler's was given by A. Martin de Wilde in Betty Beale, "Will of Billionaire Deprives U.S. of Art," Buffalo Evening News, 6 June 1960, clipping in NGA curatorial files. See also Das Niedersächsische Landmuseum Hannover: 150 Jahre Museum in Hannover, 100 Jahre Gebäude am Maschpark, Hannover, 2002: 34-35.

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