Jane Seymour, by Hans Holbein the Younger

Portrait of Jane Seymour, 1536/7, by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543). Portrait of Jane Seymour, 1536/7, by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543). Courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria, Gemäldegalerie, 881.

The portrait of Jane Seymour (1508-1537) that was painted by the German artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543), is of particular interest for its embroidery details. The painting, now in Vienna, dates to about 1536/7. Jane Seymour was the third wife of King Henry VIII of England. The painting was made shortly after her marriage in 1536.

Jane Seymour is depicted wearing a white chemise with the sleeves edged in blackwork. The design on the sleeves consists of small quatrefoils and is identical on both sides, indicating it was worked in a double running stitch, also called a Holbein stitch because it often appears in portraits by this artist.

There is also a narrow, whitework band around the neck opening, with a fine edging in black. The whitework has a design of waves and stylised flowers. Over the chemise is a red gown with two sets of sleeves. The undersleeves are decorated with a woven, stylised floral motif comparable to that found on contemporary velvets. Parts of the undersleeves are further randomly decorated, so it appears, with spangles.

The oversleeves and the neck opening of the red gown are decorated with metal thread embroidery in a laid work technique. The couched layer appears to be of purl, the laid layer of a thick pearl purl, while the small fixing stitches are of some form of metal thread, perhaps short lengths of purl. Seymour's headdress is decorated with metal thread embroidery, in which the gold threads have apparently been padded or worked over templates in order to create a raised, trellis work pattern.

For a separate study of the painting, click here (retrieved 29 June 2016).

Kunsthistorisches Museum online catalogue (retrieved 29 April 2017).


Last modified on Sunday, 30 April 2017 08:28