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Holbein at the Tudor Court

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Hans Holbein's role in the Tudor Court, painting Henry VIII as he asserted himself as supreme head of the Church during the Reformation.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and work of Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) during his two extended stays in England, when he worked at the Tudor Court and became the King's painter. Holbein created some of the most significant portraits of his age, including an image of Henry VIII, looking straight at the viewer, hands on hips, that has dominated perceptions of him since. The original at Whitehall Palace was said to make visitors tremble at its majesty. Holbein was later sent to Europe to paint the women who might be Henry's fourth wife; his depiction of Anne of Cleves was enough to encourage Henry to marry her, a decision Henry quickly regretted and for which Thomas Cromwell, her supporter, was executed. His paintings still shape the way we see those in and around the Tudor Court, including Cromwell, Thomas More, the infant Prince Edward (of which there is a detail, above), The Ambassadors and, of course, Henry the Eighth himself.


Susan Foister
Curator of Early Netherlandish, German and British Painting at the National Gallery

John Guy
A fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge


Maria Hayward
Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Southampton

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 15 Oct 2015 21:30


John Guy

Maria Hayward at the University of Southampton

Hans Holbein the Younger - National Gallery

Royal Collection – including works by Hans Holbein

The Frick Collection

Hans Holbein - Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid

Hans Holbein the Younger - Wikipedia



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Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Susan Foister
Interviewed Guest John Guy
Interviewed Guest Maria Hayward
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 15 Oct 2015 09:00
  • Thu 15 Oct 2015 21:30

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