Collection online

drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    Gg,1.416

  • Description

    Portrait of John Fisher; head and shoulders of a man turned slightly to left, wearing a soft hat Pen and black ink, with grey wash, over red and black chalk, on pink prepared paper, corners cut diagonally

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1600-1700 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 329 millimetres
    • Width: 255 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Summary of J. Rowlands, Drawings by German Artists: the 15thC & 16thC by artists born before 1530' London, 1993, no. 387:
    'This drawing is an inferior version of Holbein's original portrait in the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle (RL 12205). As George Vertue noted, it belongs to a group drawings associated with Holbein, all formerly in the Richardson collection which all have diagonally cut corners. At some point in their history, they were removed from the 'Great Booke' of Holbein portrait drawings, the majority of which have remained in the Royal Collection, and are found elsewhere; the group includes the 'Portrait of a lady, formerly thought to be Anne Boleyn' (British Museum 1975,0621.22) and the portrait of Count Morette, at Dresden (Kupferstich-Kabinett; Ganz, pp. 10-11, no. 38, repr. ; see 'Walpole Society', xviii, 1929-30, p. 32). The present drawing was listed as by Holbein without comment by Woltmann. While Binyon described it as a duplicate of that at Windsor, Chamberlain considered that it was a carefully finished version based on the drawing at Windsor. There is no doubt that the portrayal of the sitter in the Windsor sheet, even though it is damaged, is far more impressive than here. Parker is surely correct in proposing that the original drawing was made shortly before Fisher's execution in 1535, at which an eye-witness described him appearing as "a very image of death . . .".
    Jaffé was the first to identify certain details of the present drawing with the 'pronounced baroque rhythms' of a seventeenth-century hand; although his attribution to Rubens is not convincing. There are two other known drawn copies, both closer to Gg,1.416 than the original at Windsor: a feeble one, formerly in the Heseltine Collection (see 'Original Drawings chiefly of the German School in the Collection of J .P. Heseltine', privately printed, 1912, pl. 22), and that in the National Portrait Gallery (inv. no. 2821), executed in oils on transparent paper, probably by an English artist of the 1540s or 1550s (see Woodward, pp. 13-14, 43-44, no. 4, repr.).'

    This drawing was issued as a coloured collotype facsimile by the British Museum in 'British Museum Facsimiles of Drawings and Water-colours, Nos. 1 - 14', where it was number 2 and described there as 'Hans Holbein the Younger. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester.'; (Shelfmark 245*.b.11).


    Lit. from Rowlands 1993: 'Waagen, Treasures, i, p. 236; BM Guide, 1862 (1867), p. 8, no. 24; Woltmann, ii, p. 135, no. 198; BM Guide, 1895, no. 287; LB, ii, pp. 328-9, no. 9; Chamberlain, i, pp. 323-4, ii, p. 254; Ganz, p. 10, under no. 35; Parker, pp. 39-40, under no. 13, repr.; RA 1950-1, p. 61, no. 128; White, p. 570, no. 189; M. Jaffé, MD, iii, 1965, p. 29, and n. 36, iv, 1966, p. 131'

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Rowlands 1993 387 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (German Roy XVIc)

  • Exhibition history

    1934 BM, Exhibition of English Art, no.267

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1799

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    Gg,1.416

Portrait of John Fisher; head and shoulders of a man turned slightly to l, wearing a soft hat Pen and black ink, with grey wash, over red and black chalk, on pink prepared paper, corners cut diagonally

Recto

Portrait of John Fisher; head and shoulders of a man turned slightly to l, wearing a soft hat Pen and black ink, with grey wash, over red and black chalk, on pink prepared paper, corners cut diagonally

Image description

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Object reference number: PDO3611

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