See Tudor portraits at the National Portrait Gallery

See King Henry VII, King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary I all under one roof as part of an exhibition celebrating the reign of the Tudor monarchs.

NPG 416; King Henry VII by Unknown artist
Credit: National Portrait Gallery

A special display showing rare loaned items alongside nearly all of the National Portrait Gallery’s paintings of the Tudor monarchs is currently showing at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered, includes the gallery’s oldest portrait of King Henry VII, displayed with a Book of Hours inscribed by the king to his daughter, as well as six portraits of King Henry VIII, together with his rosary on loan from Chatsworth.

There are also portraits of King Edward VI and a page from his diary, five portraits of Queen Mary I combined with her prayer book on loan from Westminster Cathedral, and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I displayed alongside her locket ring – a rare loan from the Prime Minister’s country residence of Chequers.

The display also highlights groundbreaking new research undertaken as part of the gallery’s Making Art in Tudor Britain project which, using scientific analysis, has made new discoveries into the dating, technique and production of Tudor portraits.

The work is fully detailed in a major accompanying book, which allows visitors to rediscover the Tudor monarchs through the most complete presentation of their portraiture ever staged. In addition, a specially-commissioned app will allow visitors to access this research in the display space, and to discover the preparatory marks of the artist that lie beneath the surface, revealed through x-radiography and infrared reflectography.

Dr Tarnya Cooper, chief curator of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and principal investigator of Making Art in Tudor Britain, says: “This special display is the result of research on our 16-century collections over the last seven years and brings together some of the most important portraits of all the Tudor monarchs revealing how paintings were made and changed at later dates. Visitors will encounter multiple lifetime portraits of each monarch, providing a fascinating and vivid impression of one of the most dynamic dynasties in history.”

The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered takes place at Rooms 1-3, the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 11 September 2014 to 1 March 2015. Admission is free.

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