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Hans Holbein the Younger and Applied Jewels and Pearls

The German artist Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497-1543) is known for his fine drawings and paintings, especially for his portraits of North European royalty and notables. Holbein is particularly famous for paintings with highly detailed elements, especially the clothing of his sitters and the embroidery used to decorate the various garments. The embroidery techniques include that of applied jewels and pearls.

Below is a list of selected paintings that show this technique. The page numbering follows Buck and Sander 2003.

  • Portrait of William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury (1527): the archbishop is shown wearing a mitre with gold thread embroidery, applied jewels and applied pearls (p. 23; Musée du Louvre, Paris).
  • Portrait of Jane Seymour (1536/7): the sitter is wearing an English gable hood with goldwork embroidery and applied pearls. There are also pearls around the neck opening of her dress. The dress sleeves are decorated with couched lines of gold cord in a trellis pattern. The chemise sleeve cuffs are decorated with a broad band of blackwork (pp. 115-117; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).
  • (workshop of Holbein?) Portrait of Anne of Cleves (c. 1540): she is wearing an embroidered cap with applied pearls, and what appears to be cutwork on her bodice, with gold work and applied jewels along the bodice opening (p. 30; St. John’s College, Oxford).
  • (workshop of Holbein?) Portrait of Jane Seymour (c. 1540): the sitter is wearing an English gable hood with goldwork embroidery and applied pearls. There are also pearls around the neck opening of her dress. The dress sleeves are decorated with couched lines of gold cord in a trellis pattern. The chemise sleeve cuffs are decorated with a narrow band of blackwork (pp. 118-119; Mauritshuis, The Hague). There are various versions of this painting.

Source: BUCK, Stephanie and Jochen SANDER (eds; 2003). Hans Holbein: Portraitist of the Renaissance, Zwolle: Uitgerij Waanders b.v.

Mauritshuis online catalogue (retrieved 30 May 2016).

GVE

Last modified on Sunday, 30 April 2017 09:07