Historical Portraits Picture Archive

King Edward VI (1537-1553) 1550c.

Guillim Scrots Follower 

King Edward VI (1537-1553), Guillim Scrots Follower
Oil on Panel
16th Century
16 3/4 x 12 3/4 inches 42.5 x 32.5 cm
The Bristol Baptist College, Avon
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Edward VI was the only legitimate son of Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour. He was born at Hampton Court on October 12th, 1531, His mother dying 12 days later. The heir to the throne, ''His Majesty''s most noble jewel'', was brought up with every precaution to ensure his good health. Recent research reveals him as a normally strong and healthy boy, fond of athlethic exercises such as hunting and hawking. Edward was little more than nine when he succeeded to the throne on the death of his father in 1547. In April 1552 he suffered from measles and smallpox, recovering by the end of May, and thereafter he was very much under the influence of the Duke of Northumberland. Early in 1553 Edward became ill with consumption, from which he never recovered. At this time the Duke of Northumberland convinced Edward to ''devise'' the succession to Lady Jane Grey, Northumberland''s daughter-in-law. Edward died on 6th July 1553 and was buried at Whitehall.

After his accession to the throne, Edward appears to have sat only once more for his portrait in around 1550 and was painted by William Scrots. This sitting was the likely source for all subsequent variants, in all shapes and sizes, produced of Edward as the King by the Scrots studio, both during the Monarch''s brief reign and after Elizabeth I's accession and the subsequent re-affirmation of the Protestant faith. Scrots had been court painter to the Regent of the Netherlands, Mary of Hungary , and was recruited by Henry VIII as Holbein's successor at the close of 1545. His work, covering less than 10 years in this country, has never been satisfactorily reconstructed. One certain work can be associated with him from this period - unfortunately a damaged and as yet unrestored curiosity - the distorted perspective portrait of Edward dated 1546 (National Portrait Gallery, London). This bore the signature ''Guilhelmus pingebat'' as late as 1713.

Our portrait has as its provenance the Bristol Baptist College, a school which was founded in 1679 through the generosity of a local merchant, Edward Terrill. It is the oldest Baptist college in the world and had a renowned collection of Protestant icons.
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