Friday, November 5, 2010

Visiting Lady Guildford...(at the St. Louis Museum of Art) September, I mentioned I had listened to Philippa Gregory's novel (on Recorded Books, Inc.) The Boleyn Inheritance. The painter, Hans Holbein the Younger, appeared as a character in the section devoted to Anne of Cleeves. It occurred to me I knew little about that artist; I also mentioned I found a book devoted to an exhibit of Holbein's work. He was such a talented portrait painter, but he excelled in producing accurate likenesses of his famous subjects in quick sketches which he used for reference in the final paintings.
I learned that the portrait of Mary, Lady Guildford is housed in the portrait collection in the St. Louis Art Museum. The actual painting is large--about 32" square; of course the clothing is richly painted, using real gold in the paint. The subject was in her mid-twenties, the wife of Lord Guildford, important friend of Henry VIII, who acted as Henry's events director to stage his ceremonies, public entertainments and such.
She appears serious, solid and matronly with her prayer book in her grasp, but Holbein's original sketch shows her looking younger, merry, smiling and even flirtatiously charming. The painting was made about 1527. Imagine. The thumbnail portrait to the left shows her hubby. His portait by Holbein is in London.
The photo above is from Hans Holbein the Younger--Painter at the Court of Henry VIII by Stephanie Buck and Jochen Sanders. It's a beautiful and interesting read.

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