A Portrait of King Henry VIII (1491-1547) after Joos Van Cleve (c.1485-1540).

Oil on panel, in a carved giltwood frame, 69.9cm by 59.7cm.

The King is depicted holding a scroll with a quotation from St. Mark, the Latin text translating as: ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’, (Mark 16:15).

The inclusion of these words – in Latin rather than English – is more Catholic than Protestant and was intended to celebrate the title ‘Defender of the Faith’, which was awarded to Henry by the Pope in 1521.

However, it has also been suggested that it refers to the first publication of the English Bible in 1535.

The portrait is after one by Joos Van Cleve which is in the Royal Collection at Hampton Court.

There is also a similar portrait at The Merchant Taylors’ Company in London.

Joos van Cleve was active in Antwerp from 1511 until his death.

He ran a large workshop with several pupils and assistants and was known mainly for his religious works and portraits, including royalty.


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