52 Comments

  1. Stefanie williams

    The new found portrait his chin is dimpled.yet the first picture, there is no dimple on his chin…Interesting!

    • Stephanie, I was just going to make that remark when I saw your post. We have a dimple problem, lol. In regard to the cross, perhaps he was attending a function which dictated the type of dress. A wedding? A funeral?

    • sboat0539

      Holbein was very distinct at painting his subject’s eyes & facial features (nose, ears, etc) – he said they were distinct and focused great attention on them as they do not change much w/a person’s age (his words, not mine). Notice both the left (young – known work of Holbein) and right (old – known work of Holbein) – the eyes, brows, shape and spacing are the same…but do not match Holbein’s style for depiction in middle painting. It’s best to leave this to the experts, but I would expect this to be an “introduced” forgery – as it doesn’t match the Holbein style..and whoever produced it, hasn’t or didn’t study Henry or his known physique (young life vs. old) –at all.

      • Laurie Goodman Towle

        Completely agree; this is not in the Holebein style and, having said that, is probably not Henry VIII.

    • Sue Ellen Anderson

      The eyebrows are the same shape in #1 and #3, but not the new-found #2. Same with the mouth. I don’t think it is Henry.

    • Katherine Cochran Smith

      I tend to believe 2 and 3 are the same person. Given the many photos of portraits depicting Henry VIII, although I’m not qualified to give a definitive answer, I’m of the opinion that number 1 is not Henry.

    • Valerie

      I beg to differ Stephanie. If you look closely or even enlarge the first image, there is just a hint of a dimple.

  2. Tudorlover

    The eyes don’t seem as deep and the brows are totally dif fervent. If it’s a holbien and is in fact Henry then it’s not half as likeness as the rest of his work. Personally looks more like a relative than him himself

  3. sboat0539

    I would be very critical of this or attributing the work to Holbein. First, it’s B/W, and also Henry didn’t begin to put on weight til latter part of his life. Before it, physique description matches known Holbein and matches verified descriptions of Henry at younger age. Most likely, this is a forgery. I would put little credence into it – last, the colors & shading that would be in use by the author are visibly absent..that remained in Holbein’s works throughout his life as a painter.

  4. I just don’t see it. It’s a beautiful painting, there’s no doubt, but it doesn’t look like Henry to me. An artist of that skill shouldn’t have had trouble making the king instantly “recognizable,” and this man doesn’t look like Henry VIII.

    Secondly, the attire strikes me as far too simple. Henry remained, throughout his life, a very flashy dresser with elaborate slashings in his jeweled tunics. The cross, too, is far too simple for a man who felt that displays of wealth were power, and in his own way, tightly controlled his image the way Elizabeth I did.

    There’s a cat in front of the fire. To my knowledge, Henry was never depicted with a cat – far too “feminine” an iconography for him. It would have been a hunting dog or something along those lines

    Lastly, the interior of the building around the sitter doesn’t look like a royal palace, but rather a wealthy merchant’s home.

  5. Seidhe

    I would say it probably is having seen all the others and ones of blood relatives. That being said, it was a common thing for artists to paint all of their works with similar features no matter who they were painting. All artists did/do it, so so there will always be a small doubt.
    Nice portrait though!
    Seidhe

  6. Sallie

    There is a chin dimple in the first portrait, so that’s consistent. I think you could convince yourself either way whether it’s Henry or not, but the clothing should not be the deciding factor – it’s not as if we saw everything he wore, just what he wore for specific portraits. To me, it could be the same man in all three, but it doesn’t look like the same artist – maybe the ‘new’ one isn’t by Holbein, but is still Henry VIII.

  7. Anita McDonald

    I was surprised to see this new portrait. There’s some similarities between it and his older one, mainly his face is broader in each. The early one is narrower but probably because he was thinner then. But it’s interesting to see this regardless if it’s Henry or not. Thanks!

  8. Kristina

    While I wouldn’t argue the possibility of the subject being Henry, the artist is defimitely not Holbein. The style is totally off, particularly the eyes. And even the texture looks ‘wrong’ somehow. I’d say this portrait’s painter was likely unknown and someone just assumed Holbein due to him doing the others.

  9. My ancestry is Tudor from Owen Tudor onward, Geni says I am his 14th great grandson. I have had the demple since childhood and still do. You can check out my dopple ganger looks on line at FB. D. Charles Rice born 1948 of the Nebraska Ethelralda MAarsh great grandson X 10. My guess is that the person identified is Sir John Perrot, the Kings 1/2 son by Mary Berkley Pugh and Foster father of my 9th great grandfather John Perratt II 1565, son of Sir Robert Dudley a532. D. Charles Rice 1948 Nebraska Rice family

  10. Lynn

    I’m not familiar with Holebein’s painting style. It would be interesting to compare his other portraits with this. (For me, Anthony van Dyck painted men in such similar fashion many looked alike.) When people gain weight quickly, it can dramatically alter their looks. Possible this was a time in his life when he went through significant grown and layering of fat. (This is the nutritionist in me who observes this in practice.)

  11. Michaela Lovell

    He looks like a serial killer! Oh wait… Henry VIII was a serial killer! Why is it less likely to be him, when it looks less attractive than the one we are familiar with? He had the most narcissistic ego of any monarch known. I’m sure he would have beheaded the artist that didn’t paint a flattering portrait in his image…

  12. Shannon Makena

    I don’t think it’s him. The eyebrows in the 2nd photo aren’t nearly as arched, and the cheekbones aren’t as high. As far as “the simple”, I don’t think that’s a dimple, but rather facial hair. The dark color is making it look like an indention. Also the fact that the subject is wearing plain black with just a cross around his neck. In other paintings he is in furs and jewels etc.

  13. Carol

    Actually I think the portrait looks to modern. The face doesn’t look period for Holbein. I don’t know. I like it, but I have reservations

  14. Susan

    I’m no expert but I agree with those who point out that the mouth and brows are different. This new portrait is of a man with a larger mouth. I have always noticed how Henry is portrayed in other paintings with a rather small mouth. The new portrait is of a man with a lower brow , so there’s
    a distinct difference in bone structure, not just in the fact the.eyebrows themselves are flatter on this new portrait. I detect a slight difference in the structure of the cheekbones also. The young Henry’s cheekbones begin to jut out level with the end of his nose but this new portrait is of a man whose cheekbones jut out at a point noticeably higher than this.

  15. The Master

    That is not a picture of Henry VIII. I’m sorry to say, but it’s not. Let’s forget, for now, that the clothing this sitter is wearing is more indicative of Elizabethan period dress, the guy looks nothing like the king. You can squint your eyes and try to pretend you see a resemblance, but the fact of the matter is that someone is trying to take the piss.

  16. Dr S. Buers

    This is quite a fantastic finding you have here! I am willing to help you reach further down in the history and context of this portrait. But I’m afraid I cannot. Being a historian does take up a decent 10 hours of my day. I have recently been exploring the grounds of the castle where Henry VIII honeymooned and am quite suprised that it is up for sale. I recommened you go have a root around there for I have seen amazing things there.

    Good Day

    Dr Buers

  17. Laura

    As nice a painting as it is, I just simply do not believe that it is Henry VIII. There are too many differences, for one – the cleft in the chin, the length of the face, the height of the eyebrows – generally speaking these things usually tend to remain! I’ve only seen portraits with the feather hanging down at the side like that in the 1540s onwards, and Henry certainly looked nothing like that then, not to mention the shabby background in the painting and rather unimpressive clothing. I do have the feeling that it is some Italian gentleman or something of that sort. I’m also unsure as to whether it’s a Holbein or not because it’s so different from his normal style.

  18. Liz

    The first painting is not Henry. The eyes and cleft chin and shape of the face is all wrong.

    If you have a cleft chin you are born with it.

    It looks like Edward, Henry’s son.

  19. Deborah Godwin

    Okay guys, come on now, the first portrait is not a great work of art for a portrait of a king, even if it’s his early stages. The face is to long and as vain as Henry was about his portraits, he may not have wanted the dimple in the portrait to much, maybe he was a little embarrassed of it at that time. The second picture of the portrait that was made, looks more like the 3rd than the first and third. I think it will be revealed this is in fact a picture of the original portrait of the King. And lord knows I hope so, since the 1st and 3rd really don’t give the King that handsome of an appeal. Maybe I’m just wishful that it is legit because the second one, he is pretty hot and it will put a much better image in my head of him. Lol!

  20. The Rosebud Lips of Henry VIII are missing….I would guess it to be Henry’s illegitimate son Sir John Perrort by Mary Berkely, Perrot, Pughe born 1528. His size indicates he’s well fed and Henry certainly was that which promotes the large dimple in the chin. D.Charles Rice 1948 of the Nebraska Rices proved descendants of Sir Robert Dudley 1532

  21. arom mercer

    I dont think the new one is of Henry VIII. He never wore a cross around his neck and the face does not look the same as portrait #1 and #3. Henry was religious but unlike his grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, he never wore a cross even after becoming the defender of the faith.

  22. I could totally believe that is Henry. Please remember that the Victorians often re-touched paintings to make them more palatable to the ‘modern’ eye.

  23. Sunny Rowe

    The first painting in done in the style so indicative of the time period – men tended to have serene, feminine qualities. Even so the eye shape and nose are clearly the same. Remember, Henry was robust, healthy and a fine, manly-man. The left picture does not portray that. The chin cleft would have been seen as a flaw, thus being omitted by many painters. The beard later would hid any cleft. Holbein was a royal family painter, meaning that’s who served as his funds source. Henry was considered the handsomest man in the kingdom, not just because of his royalty, but because he just was. I think the middle portrait is Henry. He was very devout, and a painting for love.. say as a gift to his wife, would include the cross on a chain. Even in his monster years, he heard mass 7 times a day!

  24. Elaine

    Maybe the first picture isn’t Henry at all. How does his head go from an oblong shape to a round short head? The new picture and the last picture look more alike and the first picture doesn’t look like either of them. Just my thoughts.

  25. stephen cox

    Has any other portrait shown Henry with a cleft chin? Also, this must have been taken after Henry met Francis I of France as he is recorded as only sporting a beard after seeing Francis having one. The clothes looks more like a middling class than royalty but it could have been painted at a hunting lodge or such when less regal attire would be worn.

  26. stephen cox

    It’s also very difficult (but not impossible) that a parent with a cleft chin would not pass this onto a child. Did Henry VII have a cleft chin?

  27. stephen cox

    The more I study the portrait the more I’m convinced it is Henry. It’s always difficult to identify portraits of pre photography people as artistic licence, desire to present and enhance certain features as desired by the sitter all have an impact. Let’s face it – no one really knows what any of the Tudors looked like and never will.

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