Derek Worlock (February 4, 1920 – February 6. 1996) was an English priest in the Roman Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Liverpool.
Worlock was committed to collaboration with all his fellow Christians. Worlock co-authored the books Better Together and With Hope in our Hearts (1995) with the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard. Worklock’s motto was Caritas Christi eluceat (“For the Shining Light of Christ”).
In 1994 Archbishop Worlock was awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool award and appointed as a Companion of Honour in 1996. At his death that year, a memorial for him was planned. It was commissioned in 2005 and made possible through public donations. It was designed by British sculptor Stephen Broadbent (b. 1961). The memorial is situated at the halfway point of Liverpool’s Hope Street. Hope Street joins both the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals. See it here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/newfolder/2535308455
The aim of the statue was to create a lasting memorial to the work of the two religious leaders—Catholic archbishop Worklock and Anglican Bishop David Sheppard— who aimed to heal their churches’ deep religious divisions and serve as a unifying force in Liverpool.
I am my brother’s keeper, and he’s sleeping pretty rough these days. London OBSERVER, December 16, 1990. (On the homeless).
Sheppard-Worlock Statue by Stephen Broadbent. Above: Catholic Archbishop Derek Worlock. Commissioned in 2005 and paid for with public donations, the statue sits halfway between the Catholic and Anglican cathedrals that are both situated on Hope Street in Liverpool. The statue memorializes the two religious leaders who worked together as a unifying force to heal religious divisions among their churches and in the city. Below: Anglican bishop David Sheppard.
Coat of Arms, Most Rev. Derek Worlock, Metropolitan Archbishop of Liverpool. It contains Worklock’s motto: Caritas Christi eluceat (“For the Shining Light of Christ”).
PHOTO SOURCES: File: Detail full length Sheppard-Worlock Statue 2017-2.jpg CreatorRodhullandemu License CC BY-SA 4.0 Source WikiCommons.
File: Detail from the statue of Derek Worlock, the former Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool 2.jpg Created: 18 September 2008 CC BY-SA 2.0
File: Detail from the Sheppard-Worlock statue Liverpool. Anglican Bishop David Sheppard. Man vyi – Self-photographed. Own work, all rights released (Public domain)/
FEATURE image: Photographic portrait, John Henry Cardinal Newman, 1880.
Introduction by John P. Walsh
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was a theologian and poet who was first an Anglican priest and later a Roman Catholic priest and cardinal. In the 1830’s and until his conversion to Catholicism in 1845, Newman was a leading figure in the Oxford Movement. They were a group of Anglicans who looked to create a bridge between the Church of England and the Catholic Church by adopting many Catholic beliefs and liturgical rituals from before the English Reformation. Newman eventually came to believe for himself that these religious efforts proved insufficient and he left the Anglican Communion for the Catholic Church in 1845. Already an articulate and influential religious leader in Britain, Newman’s decision brought with it the burden of having upset his friends as well as being challenged by them and others for his changed religious opinions on polemical grounds. Newman, a longtime writer and speaker, responded after a while with his now-celebrated Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1865–1866), which served as a defense of his religious opinions after he quit his position as Anglican vicar at Oxford. Newman, a 19th-century master of English prose and poetry, had already published The Idea of a University (1852) and went on to publish Grammar of Assent (1870) as well as several poems, some of which were set to music or served as hymns. In 1879, at the age of 78 years old, Pope Leo XIII named Newman a cardinal for his work on behalf of the Catholic Church in England as well as his having co-founded the Catholic University of Ireland in 1854, which today as University College Dublin is Ireland’s largest institution of higher learning. On October 13, 2019, John Henry Newman was canonized a Catholic saint at the Vatican by Pope Francis. St. John Henry Newman became the first saint canonized from Britain since 1976. In remarks by Prince Charles who led the British delegation to the Vatican for Newman’s canonization, the Prince of Wales said: “In the age in which he [Newman] attains sainthood, his example is needed more than ever – for the manner in which, at his best, he could advocate without accusation, could disagree without disrespect and, perhaps most of all, could see differences as places of encounter rather than exclusion.” London-born Cardinal Newman died in England in 1890 at 89 years old. He founded the Oratory at Birmingham in 1848 and through his writings spoke to many about the issues of faith, education, and conscience.
A given opinion, as held by several individuals, even when of the most congenial views, is as distinct as are their faces. Oxford University sermons, 1843.
It is as absurd to argue men, as to torture them, into believing. Oxford University sermon, December 11, 1831.
From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know of no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery. Apologia Pro Vita Sua, 1864.
I used to wish the Arabian Tales were true; my imagination ran on unknown influences, on magical powers, and talismans. I thought life might be a dream, or I an Angel, and all this world a deception, my fellow-angels by a playful device concealing themselves from me, and deceiving me from the semblance of a material world. Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Up to 1833).
I was brought up from a child to take great delight in reading the Bible; but I had formed no religious convictions till I was fifteen. Of course I had perfect knowledge of my Catechism. Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Up to 1833).
I read Joseph Milner’s Church History, and was nothing short of enamoured of the long extracts from St. Augustine and the other Fathers which I found there. I read them as being the religion of the primitive Christians.Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Part III).
I read Newton on the Prophecies, and in consequence became most firmly convinced that the Pope was the Antichrist predicted by Daniel, St. Paul and St. John. My imagination was stained by the effects of this doctrine up to the year 1843. Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Part III).
There are virtues indeed, which the world is not fitted to judge about or to uphold, such as faith, hope and charity; but it can judge about Truthfulness; it can judge about the natural virtues, and truthfulness is one of them. Natural virtues may also become supernatural; Truthfulness is such…Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Part II).
Catholics on the other hand shade and soften the awful antagonism between good and evil, which is one of their dogmas, by holding that there are different degrees of justification, that there is a great difference in point of gravity between sin and sin, that there is a possibility and the danger of falling away, and that there is no certain knowledge given to anyone that he is simply in a state of grace, and much less that he is to persevere to the end.Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Part III).
Let us seek the grace of a cheerful heart, an even temper, sweetness, gentleness, and brightness of mind, as well as walking in His light, and by His grace. Let us pray to Him to give us the ever-abundant, ever-springing love, which overpowers and sweeps away the vexations of life by its own richness and strength, and which above all unites us to Him, Who is the fountain and center of all mercy, loving kindness and joy. 17, Religious Joy (Sermon for Christmas Day), 1868.
Ex Umbris et Imaginibus in Veritatem! (From shadows and symbols into the truth!) Epitaph at Edgbaston.
Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom; Lead thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on! Keep thou my feet: I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.The Pillar of the Cloud, 1833.
Lead, Kindly Light is a hymn with words written in 1833 by Saint John Henry Newman as a poem titled “The Pillar of the Cloud.” The impetus for the poem was that young Newman, traveling in Italy, became ill and found himself stranded in Palermo, Sicily, without any passage out for almost a month.
To occupy his time, the 32-year-old Newman visited the many churches in Palermo but only when they were dark, abandoned and silent. Newman, then still an Anglican, didn’t attend any services.
Newman finally got a ship to England that sailed direct for Marseilles yet, between Corsica and Sardinia, the ship lay idle for a week from lack of wind. It was just at that point in his far-flung journey that the words, Lead Kindly Light, articulated themselves in Newman’s mind as he ached to go home.
This is what the Church is said to want, not party men, but sensible, temperate, sober, well-judging persons, to guide it through the channel of no-meaning, between the Scylla and Charybdis of Aye and no. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Apologia Pro Vita Sua, “History of My Religious Opinions from 1839-1841” (1864).
Nature was a parable: Scripture was an allegory: pagan literature, philosophy, and mythology, properly understood, were but a preparation for the Gospel. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Apologia Pro Vita Sua, “History of My Religious Opinions from 1839-1841” (1864).
The Greek poets and sages were in a certain sense prophets; for “thoughts beyond their thought to those high bards were given.” St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Apologia Pro Vita Sua, “History of My Religious Opinions from 1839-1841” (1864).
Holy Church in her sacraments and her hierarchical appointments, will remain even to the end of the world. Her mysteries are but expressions in human language of truths to which the human mind is unequal. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Apologia Pro Vita Sua, “History of My Religious Opinions from 1839-1841” (1864).
We may not speak of [Jesus] as we speak of any individual man, acting from and governed by a human intelligence within Him, but He was God, acting not only as God, but now through the flesh also, when He would. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Parochial and Plain Sermons, volume 6.
[Prophetic tradition] permeates the Church like an atmosphere, irregular in shape from its very profusion and exuberance. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church (1837).
The more claim an idea has to be considered living, the more various will be its aspects; and the more social and political is its nature, the more complicated and subtle will be its issues. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.
And such mainly is the way in which all men, gifted or not gifted, commonly reason – not by rule, but by an inward faculty. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Fifteen Sermons preached before the University of Oxford.
If we insist upon being as sure as is conceivable, in every step of our course, we must be content to creep along the ground, and can never soar. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Fifteen Sermons preached before the University of Oxford.
If we are intended for great ends, we are called to great hazards; and, whereas we are given absolute certainty in nothing, we must in all things choose between doubt and inactivity. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Fifteen Sermons preached before the University of Oxford.
I am what I am, or I am nothing. I cannot think, reflect, or judge about my being, without starting from the very point which I am concluding…I cannot avoid being sufficient for myself, for I cannot make myself anything else, and to change me is to destroy me. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), The Grammar of Assent (1870).
A man who said “I cannot trust a cable, I must have an iron bar,” would, in certain given cases, be irrational and unreasonable: so too is a man who says I must have a rigid demonstration, not moral demonstration, of religious truth. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letters & Diaries, volume 21.
We differ in our sense and use of the word “certain.” I use it of minds, you of propositions. I fully grant the uncertainty of all conclusions in your sense of the word, but I maintain that minds may in my sense be certain of conclusions which are uncertain in yours. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to William Froude, April 29, 1879.
There is a great attempt to bring a new theory of Papal Infallibility, which would make it a mortal sin not to hold the Temporal Power necessary to the papacy. No one answers them and multitudes are being carried away. The pope gives ear to them and the consequence is there is a very extreme prejudice in the highest quarters at Rome against such as me. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to James Hope Scott, April 11, 1867.
Really and truly I am NOT a theologian. A theologian is one who has mastered theology…and a hundred things besides. And this I am not and never shall be. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Maria Giberne, February 10, 1869.
To write theology is like dancing on the tight-rope some hundred feet above ground: it is hard to keep from falling, and the fall is great. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Emily Bowles, April 16, 1866.
Cardinal Henry Edward Manning is not a theologian, the pope is not a theologian, and therefore theology has gone out of fashion. I don’t profess to be a theologian, but at all events I should have been able to show a side of the Catholic religion more theological, more exact, than theirs. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Lord Blatchford, February 5, 1875.
There was true private judgment in the primitive and medieval schools. There are no schools now, no private judgment (in the religious sense of the phrase), no freedom of opinion. That is, no exercise of the intellect. This is a way of things which in God’s own time, will work its own cure of necessity. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Emily Bowles, May 19, 1863.
This age of the Church is peculiar. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Emily Bowles, May 19, 1863.
Everything is good which brings matters to a crisis. It is not the matter of the document, but the animus of its authors, and their mode of doing it, which is so trying. Will not the next century demand Popes who are no Italians? St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to William Monsell, January 12, 1865.
The Fathers made me a Catholic, and I am not going to kick down the ladder by which I ascended into the Church. It is a ladder quite as serviceable for that purpose now, as it was twenty years ago. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Rev. E. B. Pusey, D.D.
We have come to a climax of tyranny. It is not good for a Pope to live 20 years. It is an anomaly and bears no good fruit; he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, and does cruel things without meaning it. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Lady Simeon, November 18, 1870.
There is no evil without its alleviation. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Bishop David Moriarty, November 14, 1866.
To be at once infallible in religion and a despot in temporals is perhaps too great for mortal man. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letter to Mrs. William Frounde, January 2, 1871.
Truth is the guiding principle of theology and theological inquiries; devotion and edification, of worship; and of government, expedience. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), The Via Media of the Anglican Church Illustrated in Lectures, Letters and Tracts written between 1830 and 1841.
The instrument of theology is reasoning; of worship, our emotional nature; of rule, command and coercion. Further, as man is, reasoning tends to rationalism; devotion to superstition and enthusiasm; and power to ambition and tyranny. St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), The Via Media of the Anglican Church Illustrated in Lectures, Letters and Tracts written between 1830 and 1841.
Now all of us are sinners, all of us have need to come to God as the Publican did; every one, if he does but search his heart, and watch his conduct, and try to do his duty, will find himself to be full of sins which provoke God’s wrath. I do not mean to say that all men are equally sinners; some are wilful sinners, and of them there is no hope, till they repent; others sin, but they try to avoid sinning, pray to God to make them better, and come to church to be made better; but all men are quite sinners enough to make it their duty to behave as the Publican. Every one ought to come into Church as the Publican did, to say in his heart, “Lord, I am not worthy to enter this sacred place; my only plea for coming is the merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour.” St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Sermon, Reverence in Worship, October 30, 1836 (PPS-8).
Featured Image: Self-Portrait, Hans Holbein the Younger, 1542/3, black and colored chalks, 23 x 18 cm, Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi. This is the only confirmed self portrait by Holbein.
Self-portrait Hans Holbein The Younger, Oil on paper, mounted on oak, 16.5 x 14 cm, inscribed on the left and right of the head: H H; on the left above the shoulder: AN [N] O. 1554 / ETATIS SVE/45, Kunstmuseum Basel, donated by Prof. J.J. Bachofen-Burckhardt Foundation in 2015. While Lüdin was probably working from a graphic reproduction, the unknown painter of this picture, if not Holbein’s own drawing, surely had one of the copies made shortly after his death in the narrow workshop environment. This is one more Hans Holbein self-portrait based on the secure Florentine drawing.
Self-Portrait Hans Holbein, copy by Johannes Lüdin, c. 1647-1667, Oil on canvas, 61.5 x 47.5 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel. In fall 1526 twenty-nine-year-old Hans Holbein crossed the channel from Antwerp to England where the German immigrant’s first concerns were to find work, useful friends, and a place to stay. While Lüdin’s painting was given as a gift to a major art collector in Basel and probably based on a graphic model whose type proliferated after 1600, it is the drawing in the Uffizi (see Featured Image) that remains the only secure self-portrait image according to current Holbein scholarship.
Introduction by John P. Walsh
Hans Holbein the Younger was born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1497. After 1515, he lived and trained in Basel, Switzerland. Over two visits, one starting in 1526 and another in 1532, Holbein spent a total of thirteen years in Henry VIII’s England until the artist’s death in 1543. The focus for this post is Holbein’s first visit to England which lasted two years – specifically, from around September 1526 to mid-August 1528. His second, more permanent, visit to England started in 1532 (Holbein likely arrived in the spring) and lasting to his death, almost certainly from plague, in late 1543. It was during that second, longer visit in England that Holbein became the most important court artist in the time of Henry VIII. His first visit is characterized by the activity of a young immigrant German artist – Holbein was about 29 years in 1526 – getting established in a foreign land and developing a mastery of his craft.
Holbein arrived in England in late 1526 with a letter of introduction from Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) addressed to Sir Thomas More (1478-1535). This was not the first time Erasmus wrote to More asking him to temporarily lodge a friend.1 More would be appointed Lord Chancellor in 1529, but in 1526 Sir Thomas was the Speaker of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. By 1526, Erasmus and More had been friends for more than a quarter century. They met during Erasmus’s first high-spirited stay in England in summer 1499. In that year, Erasmus was 33 years old and More twelve years his junior. Other major protagonists in this story – namely, Hans Holbein the Younger and the future King Henry VIII – were just children in 1499.2 While Erasmus began writing seriously on theological topics during his first English stay he also reveled in the gentle and happy personality of More. Part of More’s reception to Holbein in 1526 by way of Erasmus’s request may go back to the two old friends’ first meeting in England in 1499. After Erasmus had been encouraged by More to bring his money into England which More assured the relatively poor scholar would be safe, most of it was confiscated by English customs at Erasmus’ departure. This unpleasant shock not only left Erasmus with keen anger towards England for months afterwards—he never, however, blamed More (and one other English friend) for the misinformation—but left him lacking for money in Paris and elsewhere for several years thereafter.3 Similar to Holbein’s effort in 1526, Erasmus returned to England in 1505 to improve his fortunes by staying with his new friends, including Thomas More, and working to establish a network of influential English contacts. Erasmus emigrated in large part to access various English scholars as well as to counteract friends in the Netherlands who were mostly ignoring his work. It was by way of a new English contact that Erasmus in June 1506 ventured to Italy where he stayed for three years.4 Back in England on his third visit in 1509, Erasmus wrote his Praise of Folly, probably his most enduringly famous work, while living in the house of Thomas More. But writing and lecturing (at Cambridge) brought Erasmus little profit.5 It was only when the Archbishop of Canterbury, another English friend, gave him a stipend in 1512 that Erasmus was relieved of practical destitution. But the favored scholar would remain chronically in need of money and wrote more books to help fill the need. A scholar’s life in cold Britain, however, following three years in Italy’s southern climes, proved tiresome for Erasmus. He found his many months of writing and teaching at Cambridge to be like “a snail’s life, staying at home and plodding.”6 Erasmus was lonely; the plague was frequently about; and, for whatever his labors, he was making literally no money. Further, a state of war between England and France commenced in June 1513 which alarmed and depressed Erasmus, prompting him to publish his first anti-war writings and resolved to leave the island as soon as he could. He sailed for Antwerp in the summer of 1514.7
In 1526 when Erasmus wrote to More asking him to welcome German artist Han Holbein the Younger, both old friends had achieved literary fame in Europe. Thomas More’s Utopia appeared in Latin in 1516, edited by Erasmus and published in Louvain. During the first years of the Reformation, Erasmus remained More’s link to the Continent as they continued their amiable correspondence following Erasmus’ settling in Basel, Switzerland, in 1521. That city would be Erasmus’s dwelling place for the next eight years. Erasmus relied on More’s friendship in the 1520’s as the disputes of the Reformation intensified.8 In 1523 when Hans Holbein the Younger painted two portraits of Erasmus, the young German artist and the older Dutch humanist had been acquainted for some years. Before Holbein joined the workshop of Hans Herbst (c. 1470-1552) in 1516 or had been taken into the Basel painters’ guild in 1519, the teenage Holbein provided a pen and ink drawing for the Basel edition of Erasmus’s Praise of Folly in 1515 which apparently pleased the humanist. From 1519 to 1526 before his first visit to England, Holbein, now in his 20’s, was a whirlwind of artistic activity in Basel. His expressive drawings and paintings were a leading feature, but he demonstrated talent and skill in the many topical arts of his time, including printmaking, metal engraving, frescoes, and altarpieces.9
By 1523 Holbein desired to focus his talent on portrait painting.10 Basel’s most famous resident of Basel was certainly Erasmus. Before his relocation to the Swiss city, the writer and theologian had been famously embroiled in controversies swirling around German reformer Martin Luther (1482-1546). Erasmus came to Basel from Louvain to escape these difficulties and live in relative tranquility.11 In 1523 in Basel Holbein painted three portraits of Erasmus of Rotterdam. One exists today in Basel (in the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung), in Paris (Louvre) and in London (on loan from the Longford Castle collection to the National Gallery). The Reformation was, for the foreseeable future, taking its toll in terms of the visual and plastic arts. Erasmus described to More the state of the arts on the Continent, citing Basel in particular: “Here the arts freeze.”12
Historian David Starkey has called Holbein’s three-quarter profile portrait of Erasmus which was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham (c.1450-1532) as a gift in 1524 as “the most important portrait in England”13 Starkey claims the painting is the beginning of portraiture itself when so-called “realism” was introduced into art. By way of Erasmus’s portrait to Warham, Thomas More learned of Holbein’s artwork up to two years prior to the young artist’s arrival in England. It is probable that like Erasmus before him, Holbein lodged in More’s house during his first English visit. Such accommodation provided practical hospitality to a friend’s friend on many levels including the fact that immigrant artists in England were disallowed from dwelling within the city gates of London (More’s house was in nearby Chelsea). Further, More, as a rising political figure in England, became Holbein’s first patron and in that way could secure Holbein’s modern art portraiture for himself. Indeed, the major work of Holbein’s first stay in England between 1526 and 1528 is the portrait of the household of Thomas More as well as the famous portrait of Sir Thomas painted around the same time. In this first two-year period in England Holbein also set to work on a variety of artistic projects, but the portraits highlighted the stay.
Like his famed classicist sponsor Erasmus before him, Holbein came to England to improve his fortunes as an artist. Holbein had visited France in 1524 with the hope for a royal commission but was ignored.14 While English guild artists required Holbein’s exclusion from London proper, the time restriction on his stay was owed to the city of Basel. At the cost of losing his citizenship, Holbein was allowed no more than two-year’s absence from the Swiss city. On August 29, 1528, Holbein returned to Basel.15 This marked the end of Holbein’s first visit to England, but not before he had developed many new influential contacts and established his mastery of craft within the orbit of one of Europe’s most dynamic royal courts. Little more than three years later, in spring 1532, with his old friend Thomas More in the last throes of service as Lord Chancellor (More would almost immediately resign that year as dangerous political storms grew), Holbein returned to England. The Continent’s political and religious revolution was creeping across the channel for England’s own idiosyncratic reasons such that the English world Holbein visited in the 1520’s was rapidly declining. A revolutionary zeal was emerging, especially under Thomas Cromwell between 1535 and 1539, which would inspire new challenges for artistic accomplishment which Hans Holbein the Younger met and engaged throughout his second rewarding visit in England from 1532 to 1543.16
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Erasmus, 1523, oil on wood, 42 x 32 cm, Louvre, Paris.
One of Holbein’s study drawings of Erasmus’s hands for the profile portraits, silverpoint and chalks, 1523. Louvre.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Erasmus, 1523, oil on wood, 73.6 x 51.4 cm, London, National Gallery. Erasmus gifted this portrait to the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1524. The humanist is shown in three-quarter profile wearing a fur collar overcoat seated behind a table with his hands on an inscribed book. Behind the classicist and theologian are painted symbolic elements of the sitter’s profession and achievements: a Renaissance pilaster, green curtain and shelf of books with glass bottle. David Starkey of the National Gallery called this portrait “arguably the most important portrait in England” where “portraiture actually begins.”
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Erasmus, 1523, paper mounted on wood, 36.8 x 30.5 cm, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel. Closely related to the Louvre portrait, it is lightly smaller but offers the same strict profile of the sitter. The profile derives from an ancient classical pose signifying political or intellectual power. In this painting Erasmus’s writing can be discerned: it is the opening of a commentary on the gospel of St. Mark dedicated to the king of France. (Wolf, p. 39)
Hans Holbein the Younger in England, 1526 to 1528.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Thomas More (1477-1535), 1527, oil on oak panel, 29.5 in x 23.7 in. (74.9 cm x 60.3 cm), Frick Collection, New York. More became Lord Chancellor in 1529 where thereafter the great humanist scholar, author, and statesman, who resigned in 1532, defied the Act of Supremacy of 1534 that made Henry VIII head of the Church in England and was beheaded on July 6, 1535 for high treason. The “S-S” chain of office More wears in Holbein’s painting is an emblem of service to the King. (Frick, p. 48) More’s execution, coming in quick succession to John Fisher’s two weeks earlier, grieved Erasmus in Basel. Later, Erasmus in a letter lamented More’s involvement in “that dangerous business” which should have been left to “the theologians,” and ignored More’s plea on behalf of his conscience. (Huizinga, p. 183).
Hans Holbein the Younger: Thomas More, 1526/1527, black and colored chalks, 9.8 x 29.9 cm sheet of paper, outlines pricked for transfer. The inscription is a later addition (18th century). Royal Collection Windsor.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Thomas More, black and colored chalks, and brown wash on paper, 37.6 x 25.5 cm. Royal Collection Windsor. More’s career included study at Oxford and becoming a lawyer. He became a MP in 1504, King’s Councillor in 1518, was knighted in 1521, and became Speaker of the House of Commons in 1523. More became Lord Chancellor of England in 1529, but practical politics proved outside More’s forte. He resigned the office in 1532 and was beheaded for high treason in 1535. Thomas More was Holbein’s first patron in England, the German artist to enjoy a happier fate as the preeminent painter in the court of Henry VIII starting in the 1530’s. (Ganz, pp. 231-232)
Frick Collection, New York City. Holbein the Younger’s Thomas More (1527) and Thomas Cromwell (1533) with El Greco’s Saint Jerome (1610) above the fireplace.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of a Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (Anne Lovell), 1528, oil on oak, 56 x 38.8 cm, National Gallery, London. Recent scholarship has produced interesting speculations as to the identity of this unknown woman who, in any case, was in Thomas More’s circle (Foister, p. 30; Ganz, p. 232).
Hans Holbein the Younger: Alice Middleton, Lady More, 1527, Corsham Court (private collection) near Bath, England, oil and tempera on oak, 14 1/2 x 10 5/8 in. This is a color study for the large family picture. The color chalk study is missing. Alice was Thomas More’s second wife.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Thomas More with his family, 1527, pen and black ink on paper, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel. This is the preparatory drawing for a group portrait of the family of Sir Thomas More that was the major work of Holbein’s first period in England. The finished painting, whether on canvas or wood or a mural, is missing and was probably destroyed. It is the first nondevotional or ceremonial group portrait made north of the Alps (Ganz, p. 276). This is the household into which Holbein had taken up residence during his first visit to England. Thomas More lived outside London in a country house with his second wife Alice, his father John, his son John and bride to be Anne, three married daughters, eleven grandchildren and a live-in relative (Margaret Giggs). From left is Elizabeth Dauncy, More’s second daughter; Margaret Giggs; More’s father; Thomas More’s future daughter-in-law, Anne Cresacre; Sir Thomas More; More’s son; court entertainer Henry Patenson; More’s youngest daughter, Cecily Heron; eldest daughter, Margaret Roper; and More’s second wife, Alice. The Latin inscriptions in brown ink of the sitters’ names and ages were added a by astronomer-in-residence Nikolaus Kratzer (whose portrait was painted by Holbein).
Margaret Giggs Clement was Thomas More’s foster daughter. In 1526 she married John Clement, a court physician. Margaret eventually had eleven children and died in exile in the Netherlands in 1570. While the extant More family group drawing by Holbein shows Margaret leaning towards John More, this drawing may actually have served as the now-lost or destroyed painting’s final study. The exact meaning of the inscription “Mother Iak” is unknown. Royal Collection, Windsor.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Anne Cresacre (c.1511-1577), for the More family portrait. Royal Collection, Windsor.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Cecily Heron (b, 1506 or 1507), youngest daughter of Sir Thomas More. She was married to Giles Heron, a Member of Parliament who was hanged for treason in 1540. Royal Collection, Windsor.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir John More (c.1451 – 1530), black and colored chalks, 35.1 x 27.3 cm. Thomas More’s father was a respected judge and described by a biographer as “very virtuous” and “merry.” Royal Collection, Windsor.
(Below) Hans Holbein the Younger: John More, black and colored chalks, 38.1 x 28.1 cm. Thomas More’s son. Royal Collection, Windsor.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir Henry Guildford (1478-1532), Controller of the Royal Household, inscribed and dated, 1527, oil and tempera on wood, 32 1/8 x 26 in. (82.6 x 66.4 cm), Royal Collection, Windsor. Wearing the collar of the garter for his military service – which was the occasion for the portrait – Guildford, a physical giant of a man, holds the wand of office as Comptroller of the King’s Household. Sir Henry stands against a deep blue background, decorated with the twisting vine found in several Holbein portraits. Above the sitter’s head is a curtain rail, from which hangs a rich green curtain. This detail has lost context in the separation of the portrait from its companion, that of Guildford’s wife Mary.
Sir Henry Guildford, Black and colored chalks, and pen and ink on paper, 38.3 x 29.4 cm. The drawing is a study for the painted portrait. Sir Henry was one of Henry VIII’s closest friends and an early patron of Holbein.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Mary Wotton, Lady Guildford, inscribed and dated, 1527, tempera and oil on oak, 34 1/4 x 27 13/16 in.( 87 × 70.6 cm), St. Louis Art Museum. Mary was Sir Henry Guildford’s second wife. They married in 1525. She holds a devotional book.
Mary Wotton, Lady Guildford, 1527, black and colored chalk on paper, 55.2 x 38.5 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett. A study from life for the painted portrait. In the portrait Holbein muted the sitter’s overall playful expression and smile. Mary outlived Sir Henry to marry again.
Hans Holbein the Younger: William Warham (1456-1532), Archbishop of Canterbury (first version), 1527, Oil and tempera on wood, 30 in x 25.75 in., Lambeth Palace, London.
Hans Holbein the Younger: William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury (second version), 1527, Tempera on wood, 32.3 in x 26.4 in. (82 cm x 67 cm), Musée du Louvre, Paris. Both versions include the episcopal crucifix of gold and jewels with Warham’s coat-of-arms and his motto, prayer books and the Archbishop’s jeweled miter. Warham had this “original replica” painted to reciprocate for a portrait of Erasmus he received. The color is richer in the replica. The brown curtain is replaced with a green one. A later copy of this painting resides in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Hans Holbein the Younger: William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1527. Colored chalk on paper, 40.1 x 31 cm, The Royal Collection, Windsor. This is the preparatory drawing for the Louvre portrait. The sitter had been in his position since 1504 and remained there until his death in 1532. The similarities between the Holbein portrait of Erasmus (1523) and that of Warham (1527) are striking for their compositional elements and the conveyance of each sitter’s function by way of iconographical symbols so that these forms are a portrait template.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Nikolaus Kratzer (1487-1550), 1528, Tempera on oak, 83 x 67 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris. The sitter was born in Munich and studied in Cologne and Wittenberg. With an appointment as professor to Corpus Christi College in Oxford, Kratzer relocated to England. As a humanist, he became friends with Thomas More and his family and, starting in 1519, served as an astronomer to Henry VIII’s court. The painting, created during Holbein’s first stay in England, continues to exemplify Holbein’s lively style of illustrating a sitter’s career. Kratzer was a maker of mathematical and geometrical instruments and is shown in practical involvement with these tools. Compared with the Guildford portraits of the year before, Holbein expresses a new subtlety of lighting and refined range of tones.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Double Portrait of Sir Thomas Godsalve and His Son John, 1528, Resin tempera on oak, 35 x 36 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden. Thomas Godsalve (1481-1542) was a notary from Norfolk. Holbein cleverly shows him writing his name and age on a sheet of paper. By 1528, the Godsalves were among London’s most wealthy and politically influential men. (Wolf, p. 51) His son John (1510-1556) later had a double portrait of himself and his wife painted by Holbein.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir Henry Wyatt of Allington Castle, c. 1528?, oil on oak, 15.4 × 12.2 in. (39 × 31 cm), Musée du Louvre, Paris. Sir Henry Wyatt served in the court of Henry VII and Henry VIII and a member of the latter’s Privy Council. Sir Henry was part of the circle of Thomas More. N.B. This portrait, once thought to have been painted during Holbein’s first visit to England from 1526 to 1528, is today believed to have been painted towards the end of Sir Henry’s life.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir Bryan Tuke, c. 1527/1528 or c. 1532/1534, oil on wood, 49 x 39 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The sitter is about 57 years old. The date of the painting is unknown and its conjecture is based on its style although that leads to at least two possibilities. The physical mass of the body and the sitter’s expression suggest Holbein’s last year in England (mid 1528) although the painting’s other features (notably its horizontal lines of text) suggest the painting was made after Holbein’s return to London in 1532. There are further later additions after that. The subject, Bryan Tuke (1470-1545), was, starting in 1509, Clerk of the Signet and then Cardinal Wolsey’s secretary. By 1528 Sir Bryan was Treasurer of the Royal Household and secretary to the king for French affairs, a post he held until his death in 1545. There exist several versions of this portrait.
Hans Holbein the Younger: St. Thomas, 1527, Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, heightened with white gouache, 8 1/16 x 4 1/8 in. (20.4 x 10.5 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Holbein produced a diversity of art in England, including design and decorative works (at Greenwich), book illuminations, and sacred art. St. Thomas is part of a series of apostles of which nine are known. The ultimate application of these drawings is not known and even may have reached their final form in these studies. (Foister, p. 128)
Hans Holbein the Younger: Noli Me Tangere, 1526-1528?, Oil on oak panel, 76.7 x 95.8 cm, Royal Collection Windsor. Holbein paints the gospel narrative of Mary Magdalen meeting Jesus Christ at his resurrection, with angels illuminating the tomb and night breaking for dawn. Between the major figures, a rushing Peter and John in the background are discussing matters. Royal Collection, Windsor.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir Nicholas Carew, 1527, black and colored chalk sheet: 54.8 x 38.5 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett, Amerbach-Cabinet. Sir Nicholas was Henry VIII’s Master of the Horse until he was implicated in one of the various popular uprisings against the same king’s religious policies in the mid-1530’s, and summarily executed in 1539. (Foister, p.121)Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of an Unknown Englishman, 1527, black and colored chalk and leadpoint on prepared paper; outlines traced blind, 38.9 x 27.7 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of an Unknown Englishwoman, 1527, black and colored chalk and leadpoint on prepared paper; outlines traced blind, 38.9 x 27.7 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett. These two drawings were prepared for transfer to panels for painting portraits, neither of which survive.
Erasmus and the Age of Reformation, Johan Huizinga, Harper & Brothers, New York, reprint 1957, p. 223.
Huizinga, p. 29.
Huizinga, pp. 35-36.
Huizinga, p. 58.
Huizinga, pp. 79-81.
Huizinga, p. 83.
Huizinga, p. 85.
Huizinga, p. 87.
Hans Holbein The Younger: The German Raphael, Norbert Wolf, Taschen, Cologne, Germany, 2006, p. 28.
Holbein in England, Susan Foister, Tate Publishing, London, 2006, p. 13.
An Advanced History of Great Britain: From the Earliest Times To the Death of Edward VII, T.F. Tout, M.A., Longmans, Green, and Co, New York, London, Bombay and Calcutta, 1913, p.342.
SOURCES: An Advanced History of Great Britain: From the Earliest Times To the Death of Edward VII, T.F. Tout, M.A., Longmans, Green, and Co, New York, London, Bombay and Calcutta, 1913. Erasmus and the Age of Reformation, Johan Huizinga, Harper & Brothers, New York, reprint 1957. Five centuries of British painting: from Holbein to Hodgkin, Andrew Wilton, London: Thames & Hudson, 2001. Holbein in England, Susan Foister, Tate Publishing, London, 2006. Hans Holbein The Younger: The German Raphael, Norbert Wolf, Taschen, Cologne, Germany, 2006. The Frick Collection /A Tour, Edgar Munhall, et.al, The Frick Collection, New York, 1999. The Paintings of Hans Holbein: First Complete Edition, Paul Ganz, Phaidon, London, 1950.
FEATURE image: Detail, Queen Elizabeth I. Ditchley portrait. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, 1592.
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, oil on canvas, 1594 (purchased 1980), Tate Britain.
Captain Thomas Lee (c.1551-1601) had his portrait painted by 33-year-old Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Bruges, 1561-1636) in London in 1594. Captain Lee was 43 years old and had worked as a military adventurer for English colonization in Ireland since the early 1570’s.
The young artist was the son of Gheeraerts the Elder (c. 1520–c. 1590), a painter and printmaker associated with the Tudor court in the late 1560’s and 1570’s. Fleeing religious persecution in Flanders, Gheeraerts the Elder arrived into England with his 7-year-old son Marcus in 1568. In 1577, Gheeraerts the Elder had likely returned to Flanders.
By 1594, when the portrait of Captain Lee was made, Gheeraerts the Younger was a rising young contemporary artist working in Elizabeth I’s Tudor court. Sir Roy Strong, the English art historian who served as director of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is unequivocal about Gheeraerts the Younger’s artistic importance to English art history. Strong wrote that Gheeraerts is “the most important artist of quality to work in England in large-scale between (Hans) Eworth (c. 1520 – 1574) and (Anthony) van Dyck (1599-1641).”1
In addition to a discussion of the early painting of Captain Lee, a complete collection of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s 33 art works– including signed and dated works, documented and dated works, inscribed and dated works, and inscribed and undated works– is included in this post following this introduction.
Social contract: Marriages of court artists in late-16th-century Tudor England.
At 22 years old in 1583, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s world in and around London was ideally enclosed by marriage to the sister of talented Tudor court painter John De Critz (c.1555-c.1641). De Critz, like his new brother-in-law Gheeraerts the Younger, was a child expatriate from Flanders to England in 1568.2
In 1571 Gheeraerts the Elder had married his son’s future wife’s sister, making father and son Gheeraerts also eventually brothers-in law.3
Over two decades later, in 1602, Gheeraerts the Younger’s sister married the court artist Isaac Oliver (c.1565-1617).4
This was typical social behavior at the Tudor court where many active artists were connected by ties of marriage, family, and artistic training as well as shared European origin.
In Gheeraerts the Younger’s circle, for instance, John De Critz was apprenticed to the wealthy portrait painter Lucas de Heere (1534-1584) who may also have helped train Gheeraerts the Younger. De Heere – like Gheeraerts the Younger and De Critz – was a religious refugee to England from Flanders.
Isaac Oliver, Gheeraerts the Younger’s other brother-in-law, studied under leading Tudor portrait miniaturist and goldsmith Nicholas Hilliard (c.1547-1619). 5 Roy Strong as Director of the National Portrait Gallery in London links Hilliard to Gheeraerts by way of the supreme artistic quality found in both of these contrasting artists’ masterpieces.6
One remarkable technical innovation that the young artist applied in his portraits was the use of stretched canvas in place of wood panel that allowed for larger and lighter surface areas on which to paint and more easily transport pictures of the grand gentlemen and ladies of the time.
By way of marriage to an Irish Catholic woman, Captain Thomas Lee became a man of considerable property in Ireland. Captain Lee had separated from his wife by the time of his portrait. The next year -– in 1595 –- Lee married an Englishwoman. Over the decades, Captain Lee’s military reputation became one of an enfant terrible in Ireland which did not mellow over time. Powerful friends looked to explain Thomas’s frequent reckless political and military behavior. It was justified as the occupational hazard of a longtime English soldier in Ireland.
Planning and posing of Captain Lee’s portrait.
Lee posed for Gheeraerts when the captain was straight off the battlefield from Ulster chieftain Aodh Mag Uidhir (Hugh Maguire, d. 1600) and in London for delicate negotiations.
To presumably express Thomas’s faithful service to the Crown, the portrait includes a Latin inscription in the tree that refers to Mucius Scaevola (c. 500 BC), an ancient perhaps mythical Roman fighter who remained loyal to Rome even after he was captured by mortal enemies.
Captain Thomas Lee was related to Sir Henry Lee as paternal half cousins. Sir Henry was Queen Elizabeth I’s Champion for almost 25 years until his retirement in 1590. In that capacity, Henry was the creator of the stunning imagery for her publicly-popular Accession Day festivals that he annually planned. Along with Gheerearts the Younger’s Elizabethan allegorical portrait Lady in Fancy Dress (The Persian Lady) (#30 below) and the Ditchley portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (#31 below) — both painted in the early 1590s — Henry, who remained active and influential in political affairs, may have helped devise the symbolism in Captain Lee’s portrait. The portrait also came from Ditchley, Sir Henry Lee’s timber-framed family house set in the wooded farmsland of north Oxfordshire.
While the painting’s landscape where Captain Lee stands is likely a representation of Ireland’s wild landscape, Henry Lee’s symbolism may provide other subtle and humorous features.
Troublesome Thomas, for example, stands under an oak, which may refer to Sir Henry’s political protection but also that these trees are prone to dangerous lightning strikes.
The final seven years of Captain Thomas Lee’s life iterated a legendary standard: at times negotiating with or killing Irish enemies he also served time in prison in Ireland on a charge of treason. Ultimately, Sir Henry could not save his familial junior– in 1601 Thomas faced execution in England for treason against Elizabeth I.
English colonial rule tightens in 17th century Ireland.
English power became increasingly absolute in 17th century Ireland.
In the 1590’s, the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland believed turning their backs on the mostly Catholic natives was the most effective governing strategy. While an oath of allegiance to the Crown remained law to divest Irish rebels of their property to English rule, it was not vigorously applied until the arrival in 1604 into Ireland of Lord Deputy Arthur Chichester (1563-1625).
The 1590’s continued to implement England’s new plantation system in Ireland which amounted to confiscating Irish property for English and Scottish settlers. While this provided quick and lucrative rewards for the conquerors, the political situation was not free of ambiguity. English laws were attacked by Irish chiefs seeking protection under older common law.
Protestant settlers had their own uneasy relationship with the English Crown who, in turn, fought a tug of war with an English Parliament.
About half of settlers in Ulster were Presbyterians who were dissenters from the English church which itself was at war with Anglo- and Gaelic Irish Catholics. Moreover, London viewed new Protestant landowners in Ireland –- such as Captain Thomas Lee –- with no less suspicion as despoiled Catholics. The Crown believed that the new Protestant vanguard in Ireland had power to usurp the island’s treasure more readily than pillaged Catholics who could, ironically perhaps, be better disposed to the idea of royal governance.7
While Thomas Lee’s special status is expressed in the painting’s lace embroidery on his rolled-up shirt and inlaid pistol and Northern Italian-made helmet, the Captain is dressed as a common foot-soldier who traveled through Ireland lightly armed. Captain Lee is also, both seriously and humorously, barelegged.
Sir Henry Lee must have been one of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s earliest patrons, as the Ditchley collection had several portraits which can be ascribed to the artist.8
Strong, Roy, The English Icon: Elizabethan & Jacobean Portraiture, The Paul Mellon Foundation for British Art London Routledge and Kegan Paul Limited New Haven Yale University Press, 1969, p.22.
Hearn, Karen, Marcus Gheeraerts II: Elizabethan Artist, In Focus (Tate Publishing), 2003, p. 11ff.
The Captain Thomas Lee portrait was first recorded at Ditchley by Vertue in 1725 who noted there a portrait of ‘Lee in Highlanders Habit leggs naked a target & head piece on his left hand his right a spear or pike. Ætatis suae.43.ano.Dni 1594’.
1. SIGNED AND DATED WORKS (8 works):
1 – Marcus Gheeraerts The Younger, Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg, 1608, oil on canvas, 225.1 x 113.1 cm, St James Palace. Probably painted for James I though first recorded in Charles II’s collection. (Strong 255, The English Icon).
Gheeraerts II painted portraits of several foreign dignitaries on their visits to the English court. Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg visited James I in London for three months in the latter part of 1608 and likely the artist produced this work at that time.
2 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Camden, 1609, oil of panel,, 76.2.x 58.5 cm, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Given to the Schools by Camden Professor (1622-1647) Degory Whear. (Strong 256).
3 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Lucy Davis, Countess of Huntingdon, 1623, oil on panel, 76.8 x 62.3 cm, Private Collection. (Strong 257).
4 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Pope, 1st Earl of Downe, 1624, oil on panel, 62.3.x 47.1 cm, Trinity College, University of Oxford. It was presented to Trinity College in 1813 by Henry Kett. (Strong 258).
5 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Elizabeth Cherry, Lady Russell, 1625, oil on canvas, 194.5 x 105.6 cm, The Duke of Bedford. This painting has been at Woburn Abbey since 1625. (Strong 259).
6 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir William Russell, 1625, oil on canvas, 195.6 x 111.8 cm, The Duke of Bedford. Always at Woburn Abbey. (Strong 260).
7 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Richard Tomlins, 1628, oil on panel, 111.8 x 83.9 cm. The Bodleian Library, Oxford. It was in the Library in 1759. (Strong 261).
8 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne Hale, Mrs. Hoskins, 1629, oil on panel, 111.8 x 82.7 cm. Jack Hoskins Master, Esq. The painting remains in the family. (Strong 262). With detail.
2. DOCUMENTED AND DATED WORKS (3 works):
9 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Barbara Gamage, Countess of Leicester, and her children, 1596, oil on canvas, 203.2 x 260.3 cm, The Viscount De L’Isle. Always at Penshurst Place near Tonbridge, Kent, 32 miles southeast of London; first recorded 1623. (Strong 263).
10 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William, 2nd Lord Petre, 1599, oil on panel. 111.8 x 90.2.cm. The Lord Petre; custody of the Essex County Record Office. (Strong 264).
11 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Katherine Somerset, Lady Petre, 1599, oil on panel, 111.8 x 90.2 cm. The Lord Petre. Always at Ingatestone Hall, the 16th century manor of the Barons Petre in Essex, England. Queen Elizabeth I spent several nights there in 1561. (Strong 265).
3. INSCRIBED AND DATED WORKS (18 works):
12 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Lady (Mary Rogers, Lady Harington), 1593, oil on panel, 114.3 x 94 cm, Tate (purchased 1974). The identity for the sitter is speculative, although her age (23 years old) is inscribed. It is one of the earliest known portraits by Gheeraerts. (Strong 266).
Detail, Unknown Lady (Mary Rogers, Lady Harington), 1593. The sitter is identified in part by the clothes she wears: the distinctive black and white pattern on her dress heralds the Harington coat of arms. The sitter is 23 years old and her portrait may have been painted in connection with a visit to Kelston (The Harington homestead) in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth. The Latin inscription in the painting reads, “I may neither make nor break” a dramatic phrase whose meaning is no longer clear.
13 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, oil on canvas, 1594 (purchased 1980), Tate Britain. (Strong 267). With detail.
14 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Francis Drake, oil on canvas, 1594. Versions at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and Lt.- Col. Sir geirge Tapps-Gervis-Meyrick.
15 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Man (Called the Earl of Southampton), 1599, location unknown. (Strong 269).
16 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Lady, 1600, oil on panel, The Lord Talbot de Malhide. (Strong 270).
17 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, oil on canvas, 1600, private collection on loan since 2008 to Tate Britain.
Sir Henry Lee (1533–1611), a Tudor Court favorite under Elizabeth I, was appointed as Queen’s Champion and Master of the Armoury. In that capacity, Sir Henry organised the annual public Accession Day festivals in honor of the queen. He commissioned the famous Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I by Gheeraerts for his house at Ditchley in Oxfordshire. In 1597 he was made a Knight of the Garter and in Gheeraerts‘s portrait wears that order’s gold chain and bejeweled medal of St George slaying the dragon. (Strong 271).
18 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee in Garter Robes, 1602, oil on canvas, 216.2 x 137.2 cm. Always at Ditchley until 1933. Today at The Armourers & Brasiers’ Company of the City of London. Founded in 1322, the livery company was awarded its first Royal Charter in 1453 from King Henry VI. In 1708 the Armourers joined with the Brasiers and received its current charter from Queen Anne. (Strong 272).
Detail, Sir Henry Lee in Garter Robes, 1602. One of Gheeraerts II’s finest portraits, Sir Henry Lee is a former man of action, whose old head is remarkably shrewd.
19 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Christophe de Harlay, Comte de Beaumont, 1605, oil on canvas, The Marquess of Salibury.
The Comte de Beaumont was the French ambassador to England at a time when the Kings of England and France were looking in their own ways for a diplomatic solution to the religious controversies in Europe. The painting was made for Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, a politician who had won James I’s trust. (Strong 273).
20 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Alexander Seton 1st Earl of Dunfermline, 1606.
Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Dunfermline (1555–1622), a Scot, was regarded as one of the finest legal minds of his time. Seton served as Lord President of the Court of Session (top judge) from 1593 to 1604, Lord Chancellor of Scotland (top presiding officer of state) from 1604 to 1622 and Lord High Commissioner to the Scottish Parliament. (Strong 274).
21 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne of Denmark, 1614, oil on panel, 109.4 x 87.3 cm, Windsor Castle.
At 15 years old, Anne married the future James I of England in 1589. The Queen consort bore James three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I (reigned 1625-1649).
Once fascinated with his bride, observers regularly noted incidents of marital discord between the dour and ambitious James and his independent and self-indulgent wife.
Before she died in 1619 the royal couple led mainly separate lives. (Strong 275).
22 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Ulrik, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, 1614, oil on canvas, 211.2 x 114.3 cm, The Duke of Bedford.
Prince Ulrik of Denmark, (1578–1624) was the second son of King Frederick II of Denmark and his consort, Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow.
As second-born Ulrick bore the merely titular rank of Duke of Holstein and Schleswig although he later became Administrator of Schwerin.
After his sister Anne became Queen of England, Ulrik was godfather to Princess Mary. (Strong 276).
23 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir John Kennedy, oil on canvas, 1614, The Duke of Bedford. Upon James I’s accession, Elizabeth Brydges — Maid of Honour of Queen Elizabeth I — married Sir John Kennedy, one of the king’s Scotch attendants. This occured at Sudeley Manor in Gloucestershire.
Chandos appears to have opposed the match, and it was rumored in early 1604 that Sir John Kennedy had a wife living in Scotland. James I wrote to Chandos (February 19, 1603 or 1604) entreating him to overlook Sir John’s errors because of his own love for his attendant.
Elizabeth Brydges apparently left her husband and desired to have the matter legally examined. As late as 1609 the legality of the marriage had yet to be decided.
Lord Chandos declined to aid his cousin, and Sir John Kennedy’s wife died deserted and in poverty in 1617. (Strong 277).
24 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Catherine Killigrew, Lady Jermyn, 1614, oil on panel, 73.7 x 57.2 cm, Yale Center for British Art. (Strong 278).
Catherine Killigrew was 35 years old when she sat for this portrait. The wife of an MP as well as the mother of three children, Catherine was the daughter of Sir William Killigrew (d. 1622) who was a courtier to Queen Elizabeth I and to King James I. Her father, Sir William, served as Groom of the Privy Chamber. (Strong 278).
25 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, probably Mary (née Throckmorton), Lady Scudamore, oil on panel, 1615, 45 in. x 32 1/2 in. (1143 mm x 826 mm), National Portrait Gallery, London, purchased 1859.
The sitter, once wrongly identified as the Countess of Pembroke, is likely Lady Scudamore though about whom little is known. The portrait is likely for the occasion of her son’s marriage (John, later Viscount Scudamore) to Elizabeth Porter of Dauntsey, Wiltshire.
The wreath of flower and inscribed motto ‘No Spring Till now,’ suggest the hope that this marriage must have represented within the family. (Strong 279).
26 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621, 216.2 x 127 cm, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Gift from the sitter’s widow, 1622.
Sir Henry Savile (1549-1622) was an enterprising Bible scholar. When his qualifications did not meet the standards for the role of Provost of Eton, he had Queen Elizabeth I waive the college’s rules for him.
As Warden of Merton — a post secured with the help of influential friends — he was unpopular with faculty and students though the college itself flourished.
Sir Henry’s brother was a powerful lawyer who helped guide his brother’s career which included knighthood in 1604. (Strong 280).
27 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621, oil on canvas, 1621, 203.7 x 122 cm, Eton College. A second smaller copy of the Bible scholar and college administrator. (Strong 281).
28 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, 1628, oil on panel, 68.5 x 48.2 cm, Philip Yorke.
Under King James I, William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580 –1630), founded Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1624. In 1623 the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays was dedicated to him and to Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery (the later 4th Earl of Pembroke), his brother.
A bookish man, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke was engaged to be married three times. The first engagement was to Elizabeth Carey in 1595. Elizabeth was the granddaughter of the Lord Chamberlain who ran Shakespeare’s company. William simply refused to marry her. In 1597 William was engaged a second time. This time it was to Bridget de Vere. As William found her dowry arrangements to be unsatisfactory, negotiations dragged out to a tiresome point where the match became unacceptable.
In 1600 William impregnated a mistress at court whom he refused to marry. The child was born and died soon after. Following this episode, William and the mistress (Mary Fitton) were barred from court.
In 1604 William married Mary Talbot. Their children both died in infancy. At the same time, William was having an extra-marital affair with his cousin, Lady Mary Wroth, which produced two illegitimate children.
A lively patron of the arts, William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke died suddenly in 1630 at 50 years old. He is buried in Salisbury Cathedral in the family vault at the foot of the altar. (Strong 282).
29 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Charles Hoskins, 1629, oil on panel, 66.1 x 52.7 cm, Jack Hoskins Master. Esq. (Strong 283).
30 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Lady in Fancy Dress (The Persian Lady), 1590s, oil on panel, 216.5 x 135.3 cm, Hampton Court.
First recorded in the collection of Queen Anne but believed to be part of the Royal Collection before that time, in the cartouche the sonnet reads: “The restless swallow fits my restless minde, Instill revivinge still renewinge wronges; her Just complaintes of cruelty unkinde, are all the Musique, that my life prolonges. With pensive thoughtes my weeping Stagg I crowne whose Melancholy teares my cares Expresse; hes Teares in sylence, and my sighes unknowne are all the physicke that my harmes redresse. My only hope was in this goodly tree, which I did plant in love bringe up in care: but all in vaine, for now to late I see the shales be mine, the kernels others are. My Musique may be plaintes, my physique teares If this be all the fruite my love tree beares.”
Lady in Fancy Dress is a good example of Elizabethan allegorical portraiture. Importantly, the painting may be related to the Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I (Strong 285) as well as the portrait of Captain Thomas Lee (Strong 267 ). These three portraits may be connected in some way to the entertainment given by Sir Henry Lee, the Queen’s Master of the Armouries and Champion of the Tilt, when the Queen visited Ditchley in 1592. (Strong 284).
Queen Elizabeth I is standing on a map of England. Detail from The Ditchley Portrait of Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger in 1592.
Detail of a bejeweled fan in Queen Elizabeth I’s right hand from The Ditchley Portrait of 1592 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. In the decade before The Ditchley Portrait Gheeraerts the Elder, Marcus II’s father, had painted a full- length oil on panel portrait of Elizabeth I. In the ensuing handful of years, practical technical innovation in art is in evidence in the Elizabethan court — the the son’s oil portrait of the same royal personage was able to be produced on canvas on a much larger scale.
Detail of the beautiful garment and accessories.
Detail, Queen Elizabeth I. Ditchley portrait. Three fragmentary Latin inscriptions in the painting have been interpreted as: “She gives and does not expect”; “She can, but does not take revenge”; and, “In giving back, she increases.”
An inscribed sonnet, whose author is not known, takes the sun as its subject. At some later date the canvas was cut more than 7 centimeters fragmenting the final words of the each line.
31 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Queen Elizabeth I (“The Ditchley Portrait”), oil on canvas, 1592, 95 in. x 60 in. (2413 mm x 1524 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London. Bequeathed by Harold Lee-Dillon, 17th Viscount Dillon, 1932.
Queen Elizabeth was nearly 60 years old when this portrait was made. It is traditionally understood to have been painted on the Queen’s visit to Ditchley, the timber-framed family house in north Oxfordshire of Sir Henry Lee (1533-1611).
Like John II Walshe (d.1546/7) of Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire, who was the King’s Champion to Elizabeth’s father Henry VIII, Henry Lee served at that standard for Queen Elizabeth from 1570 until his retirement about two years before this painting was made.
Ditchley once provided lodging and access to the royal hunting ground of Wychwood Forest. (Strong 285).
32 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, 1590s, oil on canvas, 117 x 86.4 cm, The Ditchley Foundation. Always at Ditchley. The painting and inscribed verses memoralize an incident where Bevis – Lee’s dog – saved his master’s life. “More faithfull then favoured…” (Strong 286).
33 – Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Michael Dormer, mid 1590s, oil on canvas, 122 x 91.5 cm, J.C. H. Dunlop, Esq. There are Latin inscriptions which surround and are written across the globe and shield. (Strong 287).
The social and cultural world of Sir Henry Lee once again influences the young artist’s portrait of Michael Dormer, who was an Oxfordshire neighbor to Sir Henry. In Dormer’s three-quarter-length portrait, the right hand is posed similarly to Thomas Lee’s portrait. As Captain lee’s portrait is the centerpiece of this post’s explorations,it may be said with Michael Dormer’s this post has traveled full circle around Marcus Gheeraerts II’s verifiable portraiture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England.
Here then concludes the complete collection of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s signed and dated works (Strong 255-262); inscribed and dated works (Strong 266-283); and, inscribed and undated works (Strong 284-287). Not included here are works dated and attributed to the artist (Strong 288-294) and attributed and undated (Strong 295-313). The last group includes several well-known portraits including William Cecil, Lord Burghley, c. 1595, in the National Portrait Gallery (Strong 295) and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, c. 1596, in collection of the Duke of Bedford. (Strong 300).
Strong 255 – Hearn, Karen, Marcus Gheeraerts II, Elizabethan Artist (In Focus series), Tate Publishing, 2002, p. 29.
FEATURE image: Joshua Reynolds, Richard Eliot (1733-1746), 1743-44, 48.2 x 43 cm, Private Collection. See no. 4 below for the painting’s story.
Notes by John P. Walsh
Reverend Mr. Thomas Smart was Vicar of Maker when, in 1735, 11-year-old Joshua Reynolds painted his portrait. It was the same year the sitter died. This print is a much later derivation of the oil on canvas in a private collection. With art materials provided by George, 1st Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (1720-1795), it is traditionally believed to be Reynolds’s first painting.
Reginald Pole (1717-1769), son of a Devon clergyman and his wife, married a woman whose brother was painted by Reynolds. The 26-year-old sitter wears a blue velvet coat.
The sitter was an attorney in north Devon at Bideford who helped Reynolds secure an apprenticeship to English portrait painter Thomas Hudson (1701-1779). This picture is identified as a young Reynolds’s work based on an August 1743 letter from his father to Cutcliffe.
The attentive young subject is a midshipman in the British navy.
Richard Edgcumbe, son of Sir Richard Edgcumbe, became at 22 years old MP from Plympton where he served for 32 years. He was a reliable ally to long-serving British prime minister Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745). Edgcumbe married in 1715 but six years later was a widower. Reynolds’ painting was destroyed by bombing in World War II.
Reynolds’ blood uncle’s wife’s sister. Though called “Mrs.,” the sitter never married.
An early example of the artist’s use of the profile. Mary Fletcher married Walter Kendall of Cornwall in 1740.
The identity of the sitter in a blue dress is uncertain. She may be an in-law of Walter Kendall.
Part of a collection of 6 or 7 Kendall family portraits painted in 1744 when Reynolds was 21 years old.
Walter Kendall was Plymouth Dock’s town clerk.
Elizabeth Murray married John Kerley, a town official of Plymouth. Their son became a captain in the Royal Navy.
Edward Eliot was MP for Cornwall and a life-long friend of Reynolds. Described as lively, very clever and most agreeable, 50 years later he was a pall-bearer at Reynolds’ funeral.
Wife to Rev. Josiah Foote, Rector of Antony and Kingsteignton in South Devon, the sitter is also the mother of Captain John Foote.
Rosse was an Irish peer whose portrait was painted in London likely. He married Olivia Edwards in 1754. The composition is derived from a portrait of James Stuart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox, c. 1634–35 by Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 1599–1641). The van Dyck hangs today in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Clotworth Skeffington’s portrait was painted in London perhaps. It was Reynolds’ most ambitious painting to date.
Sir William had his portrait painted other artists. In Italy in 1729 and 1730 he collected Canalettos. In 1731 he married Lady Lucy Wharton. They divorced in 1738. In 1741 he married Anna Bury. In 1745 Reynolds painted Sir William wearing a brownish silk tunic and grey cloak with a red velvet hat lined in fur.
Family tradition identifies this as a young girl who married in 1769 and died in childbirth soon after.
FEATURE image: (detail) “The Flodden Window,” c. 1524, Parish Church of St. Leonard in Middleton near Manchester in England.
The earliest Middleton church was dedicated to Saint Cuthbert around 880 as pagan Danes were then attacking the north of England. Following William the Conquerorin 1066, the Normans built a larger church dedicated to Saint Leonard, a French saint and patron of prisoners. In 1412, Thomas Langley (1363-1437), Prince Bishop of Durham and Lord Chancellor of England under kings Henry IV, V and VI, built a new Gothic style church though incorporating parts of the old Norman building. In 1513, Sir Richard Assheton, Lord of the Manor and member of an illustrious military and religious family, spear-headed further changes. Completed in 1524 today’s St. Leonard was built on the previous church buildings so to celebrate Sir Richard’s knighthood by King Henry VIII for his part in the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. The stained-glass window memorializes archers from Middleton who joined the battle on the side of the English. The battle took place in England only a few miles south of the Scottish border near Branxton and about 200 miles north of Middleton.
Not yet 40 years old, the reign of charismatic Scottish King James IV (1473-1513) came to an abrupt halt on September 9, 1513 when he was instantly killed in battle fighting against an English army in northernmost England.
Continental politics with its entangling alliances put Scotland in armed conflict against its neighbor for which it had signed a peace treaty only 11 years earlier.
In 1502 a treaty was signed pledging everlasting peace between the kingdoms of Scotland and England. The political settlement was sealed in the sacrament of marriage between ambitious (and religious) James IV to Margaret Tudor (1489-1541), the sister of future English King Henry VIII (1491-1547).
The Scots also had a treaty with France, their traditional ally. When the Pope in Italy excluded France from political gain in Italy—and England endorsed the pope’s action—France called on Scotland for help. In the summer of 1513, James invaded England.1
Much later in 1534 in England, papal interference in English political affairs where the pope denied the English King Henry the annulment he sought from Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536), led to England breaking with Rome and the formation of the Church of England.
After his father, James III of Scotland (1451-1488), was killed in battle in 1488, James IV became king at 15 years old
When James III was killed on June 11, 1488 at The Battle of Sauchieburn in Scotland, his 15-year-old son James IV succeeded him. He had been the rebels’ assumed figurehead, and for his indirect role in his father’s death James decided to wear a heavy iron belt for the rest of his life. A highly intelligent man, James IV proved an effective ruler. He spoke several languages and took an interest in literature, science, and law. Determined to establish strong central leadership he suppressed The Lord of the Isles and created a powerful navy. In 1503 he married the English king’s daughter, Margaret Tudor, in an attempt to create peace between the two countries. When England invaded France, James felt obliged to assist his old Continental ally. In 1513 he confronted the English army but was killed in the disastrous Battle of Flodden Field.
James IV married Margaret Tudor (1489-1541), the sister of future English King Henry VIII (1491-1547). While their marriage was an important part of the Truce of Perpetual Peace which was signed between Scotland and England in 1502, it did not prevent the Battle of Flodden Field over a decade later.
The Battle of Flodden Field was fought in the county of Northumberland in northern England on September 9, 1513. The battle was between the invading Scots army under King James IV and the English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey.
Battle strength and casualties are disputed but the Scots likely numbered more than 30,000 men and, after some delay, engaged an English force of around 20,000 men under Lieutenant-General Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Surrey (1443-1524). Howard would become the grandfather of future queens Anne Boleyn (1501-1536) and Catherine Howard (1521-1542).²
The Battle begins with an artillery duel and the Scot king is quickly killed in action. Bogged down, a third of the Scot army is destroyed
On September 9, 1513 the two armies clashed at Flodden Field in the far north of England. The battle proved a disaster for the Scots. Scotland’s inspiring king was quickly killed in action with a third of his army, including many officers. English losses were but a small fraction of their total.³
The battle started with an artillery duel. The Scots brought heavy guns and had difficulty aiming at the English army at close range below them. Lighter English guns were able to target and pick off the Scots’ guns. In response, the Scottish left wing advanced downhill and wreaked havoc on the English right wing. The rest of the Scottish army then advanced. But a marshy valley floor bogged the army down. The Scottish pikemen became easy targets for the English infantry. The end result was that a third of the Scottish army was destroyed.
New Scot King, James V, is 17 months old, in 1513. When he dies prematurely in 1542, Mary, Queen of Scots, his daughter and successor, is 6 days old
One immediate consequence of The Battle of Flodden Field was to put James V on the Scottish throne. James was born in April 1512 and not yet two years old.
The Scots were made to wait a generation for kingly leadership in very trying times. Thirty years later, in 1542, James V would die prematurely and was succeeded on the throne by his only legitimate daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, who was only six days old.
James V (reigned 1513 – 1542), father of Mary, Queen of Scots, became king at one-year old when his father, James IV, was killed at Flodden, fighting the English. Ignoring the advice of English King Henry VIII, his uncle, to become a Protestant, James V strengthened Scotland’s alliance with its traditional ally, France. He married the French king, Francis I ‘s daughter, Madeleine of Valois (1520 –1537). When she died, he married Mary of Guise (1515-1560), another high-born Catholic French woman. James V died at Falkland Palace, soon after his army’s defeat by the English at Solway Moss, on November 24, 1542. His six-day-old daughter Mary succeeded to his throne.
First wife of James V of Scotland. They married on New Year’s Day 1537 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Of delicate health from birth, Madeleine died in July 1537 at 17 years old.
Queen of James V of Scotland and mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. The daughter of a French duke, Mary of Guise had just been widowed when she married James V to strengthen the alliance between France and Scotland. Their two sons died in infancy and James died a few days after their daughter, Mary, was born in 1542. Mary of Guise chose to stay in Scotland, ruling as Regent to protect her daughter’s interests. Courageous and determined, her effort to keep Scotland in the French Roman Catholic sphere was unsuccessful in the rising tide of Protestantism on the British Isles.
This is probably a 19th century replica after an image made around 1561. Within eighteen months Mary, Queen of Scots, lost three members of her closest family — her father-in-law (Henry II of France), mother (Mary of Guise) and, on December 5, 1560, her husband, Francois II of France. Mary is depicted here in mourning, wearing a white hood and veil. According to the Venetian Ambassador to the French court, Mary was inconsolable. Her “tears and lamentations inspired a great pity” in everyone, the diplomat observed. Eight months later, having lost her position as Queen of France, Mary landed at Leith to take up her duties as Queen of Scotland.
Over two hundred years later Scottish poet Jane (or Jean) Elliot (1727-1805) wrote a poetic lamentation to an ancient Scottish tune about Flodden’s martial calamity. Published in 1776, it is called The Flowers of The Forest and is Elliot’s only surviving work.
Dule and wae for the order sent our lads to the Border; The English for ance, by guile wan the day; The Flowers of the Forest, that foucht aye the foremost, The prime o’ our land are cauld in the clay.
We’ll hear nae mair lilting at our yowe-milking, Women and bairns are heartless and wae; Sighing and moaning on ilka green loaning: ‘The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.4
King James IV corpse riddled with arrows on the battlefield
King James IV died at Flodden on September 9, 1513. His corpse was disfigured by arrows. The bow and arrow is an ancient weapon. Arrows inflicted some of medieval battle’s worst wounds when the victim was struck. Though guns and cannonade take pride of place in terms of firepower, arrows caused wounds that could be more fatal than those produced by other weapons.
Battle of Flodden Field weapons: guns, cannon, pikes, and arrows
The heavier the arrowhead, usually made of metal, the larger the feathers needed to spin it towards its target. Victims did not die usually in battle from a single arrow wound. Expert bowman could shoot one arrow every 5 to 10 seconds.
Complicating multiple wounds was that each arrowhead had to be removed. Since the arrow was constructed to have the arrowhead dislodge in the body, it made its location and removal highly dangerous and difficult. Arrowheads could not remain in the body. They were too large, sharp, and angular for bodily tissue to heal around it. They could easily become infected and caused intense pain with the slightest of bodily movement. A general medical procedure was to cut off limbs with arrow wounds. If the arrowhead was lodged into bone, it made its removal even more painful and difficult. Lodged arrows could cause nerve damage or intense muscle contractions. Arrows to the head might not penetrate the skull but could cause cerebral compression whose pressure would be alleviated by surgery. Bowmen knew to hit the trunk of the body was going to be likely fatal and this is where most combatant injuries by arrows are found.5
Taken to England after battle, the fate of the Scottish king’s disfigured corpse
After the battle, James IV’s corpse was identified and taken to Berwick-upon-Tweed where it was cleaned up and embalmed. Placed in a lead coffin, the body was transported to London.
The body was received by Catherine of Aragon (1486-1536), the wife of King Henry VIII of England who was fighting in France. The body remained in Richmond upon Thames with a monastery. James IV might have been buried at the monastery except that the Scottish king had been excommunicated for breaking the Truce signed between Scotland and England in 1502. Although the pope granted permission for burial, the corpse was left in a monastery shed to, quite literally, rot.
In England the body of the Scottish king was soon forgotten about. It is conjectured someone stole the head and, after a time, that detached body part was thrown into a popular London charnel pit. The body presumably stayed at the monastery. When the monastery was demolished during the Dissolution in the 1530’s, the headless body of James IV was lost with it.
1 Trevor Royle, Precipitous City: The Story of Literary Edinburgh, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, 1980. pp. 16-17.
2 Stanford E. Lehmberg, “The Life of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and Second Duke of Norfolk, 1443-1524 by Melvin J. Tucker,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 71, No. 1 (Oct., 1965), p. 158.
3 “The Flodden Death-Roll,” The Scottish Antiquary, or, Northern Notes and Queries, Vol. 13, No. 51 (Jan., 1899), Edinburgh University Press, p. 102.