Hans Holbein the Younger, Two views of a Woman wearing an English Hood, a drawing

England, about AD 1528-30

The details of this woman's costume and especially her head-dress are very similar to Holbein's Portrait of Lady Guildford of 1527 (St Louis Art Museum, Missouri). The fashion for this type of hood, with two tails hanging down the back, was current during the late 1520s. After a decade or so, the ends and tails of the hood were turned up.

This is clearly a study for the woman's costume. The woman may even be a lady-in-waiting who models the clothes for a more important sitter. She is seen from both front and back, the black hood painted with a brush in black ink. The lady is also dressed in luxurious fur sleeves, has gold chains across her waist and carries a string of large beads. There is little interest in her facial features or any sense of character.

In England, Holbein rose to become court painter to Henry VIII (reigned 1509-47), probably with the help of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife. At court, he painted numerous portraits of the king, his potential brides, wives and courtiers. These portraits chronicle the faces of those who rose and fell from the king's favour, including some of Henry's unfortunate wives and ministers. Holbein died in England, having himself lost his royal master's favour.

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More information


J. Rowlands with G. Bartrum, The age of Dürer and Holbein: (London, The British Museum Press, 1988)

J. Rowlands and G. Bartrum, Drawings by German artists in, 2 vols. (London, The British Museum Press, 1993)

Anon., Holbein and the court of Henry (The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, 1978-79)

J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)

J. Rowlands, The paintings of Hans Holbein (Oxford, Phaidon, 1985)

S. Foister, A. Roy and M. Wyld, Making and meaning: Holbeins a (National Gallery, London, 1997-8)


Height: 159.000 mm
Width: 110.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1895-9-15-991



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