Category:Catherine Howard in portraits

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There are no undisputed portraits of Catherine Howard. Two portrait miniatures by Hans Holbein the Younger, one in the Royal Collection and another in the Buccleuch Collection, may be the only surviving depictions of Catherine Howard.

The Buccleuch miniature belonged to Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, in whose collection it was engraved by Wenceslaus Hollar as an unknown subject. It was probably acquired by Charles II first mentioned in the Inventory of goods recovered at the Restoration by Colonel William Hawley, 1660-61, where it may be identifiable as: A small piece Inclineing of a woman after ye Dresse of Henry ye Eights wife by Peter Oliver. By c.1735-40, the Buccleuch version, by then in the collection of Jonathan Richardson, had been engraved by Jacobus Houbraken for Thomas Birch’s Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain (1743) as Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth queen (1518/24-42). When a second miniature was first recorded in the Royal Collection c.1837, it, too, bore this identification. Foister records a reference to a third miniature listed as of Catherine Howard by Holbein, sold from the collection of the artist Pieter Stevens of Antwerp in 1668 and unassociated with either of the surviving two miniatures.

The most compelling argument in favour of the lady's regal status is that the large ruby, emerald and pearl jewel that she wears is similar to that shown in Holbein's portrait of Jane Seymour at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna and identical to that shown in the portrait of Henry VIII’s third queen, at the Mauritshuis, The Hague. This pendant jewel and her carcanet (necklace) of pearls and rubies set in goldsmith’s work, may have been given to Catherine Howard by Henry VIII on their marriage in 1540. The double-looped necklace closely resembles those seen in portraits of Henry VIII’s other wives, including Jane Seymour (Kunsthistorisches Museum) and is identical to that of Catherine Parr in the Hastings portrait.


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