From iconic paintings to miniature masterpieces, discover the kings, queens, princes and princesses in our collections
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BHC2763 • Oil Paintings
Henry VIII, 1491-1547
Henry VIII is almost challenging the viewer in this elaborate full face portrait by Hans Holbein. The rich costume and gems, fashionably shaven head and close cropped beard all underline the king's status and wealth.
This portrait of Queen Elizabeth I was painted during the years of greatest political tension with Spain. In it, the importance Elizabeth attached to her public image is expressed in the sumptuous clothes and rich setting, and is emphasised by her holding the sceptre as a symbol of office and power.
Mary I of England, 1516-58 and Philip II of Spain, 1527-98
This double portrait shows Mary I and Philip of Spain. Mary became Queen in 1553. The following year, against the advice of her councillors, she married her first cousin, Philip of Spain. The composition and the steep pitch of the floor underscore the unease in this portrait, which is more a statement of union between nations than of individuals.
Princess Elizabeth (Elizabeth of Bohemia, 'The Winter Queen'), 1596–1662, aged seven
This masterpiece of early English portraiture was painted only months after the death of Elizabeth I in March 1603. It shows Elizabeth Stuart, the second child of King James I (VI of Scotland) and Queen Anne. The young princess is just seven years old in this portrait - her age is inscribed on the fan.
This highly coloured Baroque portrait depicts James II in a Roman costume representing Mars, the god of war. In the tradition of the 'swagger portrait', this painting is designed to be an opulent statement of James's military skills.
This beautifully carved figurehead is arguably the finest in the Museum's collection. It shows a young Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, and decorated the richly adorned royal yacht Royal Charlotte.