Lot 10
  • 10

Circle of William Scrots

500,000 - 700,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Circle of William Scrots
  • Portrait of Edward VI (1537-1553)
  • oil on panel, in a magnificent carved and gilded William Kent frame


Samuel Day (1757-1806), Hinton House, Hinton Charterhouse, Somerset;
By descent to Mary, his wife, who died in 1846 leaving Hinton House to Thomas Jones (1808-1848);
By descent to Edward Talbot Day Foxcroft (1837-1911), his son;
Thence by descent to the present owner.


Previously on loan to Leeds Castle, Kent.


Rev. J. Nightingale, The Beauties of England and Wales, London 1813, part I, vol. XIII, p. 456 (as 'by Holbein');
Hinton Household Inventory Entailed by the Will of the late Thomas Jones Esq., unpublished MS., 23-28 August 1848, p. 2 (as 'Edward 4th in a carved frame 37 inches by 29 in rich regal robes' - £45);
O. Millar, The Tudor, Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the Collection of her Majesty the Queen, London 1963, text vol., p. 66, under no. 49.

Catalogue Note

The present work is an exceptionally rare seated, three-quarter length variant of perhaps the most important official portrait of Edward VI. Traditionally associated with William Scrots1, who came to England in 1545 and succeeded Holbein as King's Painter, it depicts the young King wearing ermine robes and a richly bejewelled doublet, with the Order of St. George, seated on a throne holding a bible, presumably a reference to his role as Defender of the Faith and head of the Church of England. The type is thought to have originated in 1550, when marriage negotiations were underway between the King and the eldest daughter of Henry II of France. Good full length versions are at Hampton Court (Royal Collection), the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and in the Museum at Roanne, the latter of which is traditionally stated to have been given by the King to the Maréchal de St. André, who was sent to London in July 1551 to confer upon the King the Order of St. Michael.

King Edward VI, the only son of King Henry VIII by his third wife, Jane Seymour, succeeded to the throne on the death of his father in 1547, when only nine years old. The longed for male heir to the Tudor dynasty, Edward's reign was sadly brief, and he was only fifteen when he died of consumption in 1553. Despite this, and despite his youth, he displayed a deep interest in religious policy, and successfully ensured the continuation and consolidation of the English Reformation, for which he was praised by contemporary European Protestants, and which his sister, the Catholic Mary, who succeeded his as Queen of England, was unable to reverse.

The portrait was first recorded in the collection of Samuel Day (1757-1806), at Hinton Charterhouse, in Somerset. In 1786 Samuel married Mary Jacob, who inherited Hinton Charterhouse from her uncle, John Harding, High Sheriff of Somerset, whose father, also John, had bought the house in 1700. Originally part of the Carthusian Monastery which stood nearby, the house, also known as The Grange, is first recorded in Leland's account to Sir Walter Hungerford (1574-1589). Then part of the vast Hungerford estates, in which it remained for much of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was at one stage the home of Prince Henry Stuart, and his brother Charles, later King Charles I.

A copy of the dendrochronology report on this painting is available for viewing upon request.

1. The attribution of the Hampton Court painting to Scrots was confirmed with almost complete certainty in 1951 by Dr Auerbach (see E. Auerbach, 'Holbein's Followers in England', Burlington Magazine, XCIII, 1951, pp. 45-50).