Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28th, 1491: The Birth of Henry VIII

King Henry VIII, sometime after 1530. This full-length portrait currently resides in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.

On This Day in Tudor History, the Tudor prince who would grow up to be arguably one of the most recognizable and popular monarchs in English history, King Henry VIII, was born.

On June 28th, 1491 Prince Henry Tudor was born in the Palace of Placentia (a part of Greenwich, and like many Tudor palaces, was sadly demolished in the 17th century) to Tudor dynasty founder King Henry VII and his wife, Queen Elizabeth.

"The former palace of Placentia had been rebuilt around 1500, and was one of the chief and most magnificent residences of the Tudor dynasty. Ranged around three vast courtyards, it was of red brick with great bay windows, surrounded by exquisite gardens and orchards, and sumptuously decorated and appointed throughout." (Weir, 59)

Since Henry VIII has been researched, re-imagined, parodied and lampooned more times than anyone can count, it seemed silly for me to try to post a mini-biography of him here on BeingBess.

Therefore, in honor of his birthday, I give you a timeline of some of Henry VIII's portraits, armor and other depictions (and thus, a visual progression of his expanding waistline)! Some images you may have seen before, and some will hopefully be new to you. Enjoy!

A 19th century portrait of humanist Erasmus and Sir Thomas More visiting the children of Henry VII at Eltham Palace. Below, a detail of Prince Henry Tudor, the future Henry VIII. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
A detail of a 19th century portrait, showing Henry Tudor receiving tribute from Erasmus of Rotterdam and Thomas More at Eltham Palace. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
A portrait of Henry Tudor from 1509, the year he became King of England. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
A drawing of King Henry VIII jousting to impress his first wife and Queen Consort, Catherine of Aragon. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
A miniature portrait of King Henry VIII, c. 1526 by court painter Lucas Horenbout (1495-1544). Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
Another miniature by Lucas Horenbout of King Henry VIII, c.1526. This miniature currently resides at the Louvre Museum in France. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
Armor for King Henry VIII of England. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons through permission of the photographer. Image public domain.
King Henry VIII, c. 1535 by Joos van Cleve. Part of the Royal Collection. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger from 1537. This is how Henry VIII appeared just one year after the tragic jousting accident that changed him forever. It is also one of the most famous portraits of Henry VIII. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
A sketch of King Henry VIII c. 1540, from the workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
King Henry VIII c. 1542, after Hans Holbein the Younger. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
The Whitehall Family Group of the "ideal" family of King Henry VIII, c. 1545. Tudor propaganda at it's finest. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
Henry VIII with his children, (and his fool, Will Sommers) shown in the order in which they were to succeed him: Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. My favorite "awkward family portrait" of the Tudor family! Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
Henry VIII plays the harp with his fool, Will Sommers in attendance. The room they are shown in was previously thought to be a fanciful creation from the artist, but historians now suspect that this was one of the ornate rooms within Henry VIII's pleasure palace, Nonsuch (now destroyed). Henry VIII often had the loyal Will Sommers depicted with him; he is even included in the Whitehall Family Group, shown to the right of the Princess Elizabeth (through the archway looking outside). The woman in the archway to the left of Princess Mary is most likely his wife. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
King Henry VIII in his later years, by a follower of Hans Holbein the Younger. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.
The Portrait of Henry VIII is the now-legendary full-length portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger. Now lost to us due to its destruction by fire in 1698, our understanding of the portrait comes from a myriad of impressive copies of the original work. The portrait was carefully devised to portray Henry in an idealized way, showing him as the "Renaissance man" he imagined himself to be. The Chatsworth Portrait copy was done by Hans Eworth, c. 1560-73 in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It was probably commissioned by William Cavendish and resides in Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.
A statue of King Henry VIII on the facade of Kings College, Cambridge. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons by permission of the photographer, Andreas Praefcke. Image public domain.
A testament to his popularity, Henry VIII not only appears in high brow academic circles but in the low-brow circles as well! Here is a pub sign inside the King Henry VIII Inn, Hever. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons by permission of the photographer, Nigel Chadwick. Image public domain.
An impressive realistic likeness of King Henry VIII from the George S. Stuart Gallery of Historical Figures. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons by permission of the photographer, Peter d'Aprix. Image public domain.
I hope you enjoyed this pictorial journey through time in honor of Henry VIII's birthday!

Source

Weir, Alison. Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings. New York: Ballantine Books, 2011. Print.

(originally published in the UK under the title, Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore.)

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