Saturday, October 8, 2022

The Whitehall Mural

From History Hit:

In 1537, Hans Holbein the Younger painted a vast mural of the Tudor dynasty. It depicted King Henry VIII, his father Henry VII and each of their wives: Jane Seymour and Elizabeth of York. The mural was part of a wider decorative scheme in Whitehall Palace, a warren of residences covering 23 acres which had been seized after the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey in 1529.

The Whitehall Mural, as it came to be known, was commissioned at some point during Henry’s brief marriage to his third wife, Jane Seymour, which lasted from 30 May 1536 to 24 October 1537. The mural may have been commissioned to celebrate their marriage, or perhaps to pre-empt the birth of what was hoped to be a long-awaited male heir. Jane did indeed give birth to a son (the future Edward VI) in 1537 but died of postnatal complications less than two weeks later.

The mural was a well-known image throughout the 17th century, for Whitehall Palace was the main residence of the English monarchs from 1530 until 1698, when it was destroyed by a fire on 4th January. Many great works of art were lost, including Holbein’s famous mural, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s marble portrait bust of King Charles I and Michelangelo’s sculpture of Cupid. (Read more.)


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