Hans Holbein the Younger, follower of
1497/98 Augsburg - 1543 London
PORTRAIT GEORGE BROOKE, NINTH BARON COBHAM
Oil on panel. 31 x 31 cm.
Auction Sotheby´s, London, 25.6.1969, Lot 36. – Rafael Valls, London. – Westdeutsche Privatsammlung.
“Dynasties. Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530–1630”, Tate Gallery, London, 1996.
John Rowlands: review “Holbein and the Court of Henry VIII” at the Queen´s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. In: Burlington Magazine CXXI (1979), p. 54 - 56, illustrated. - John Rowlands: Holbein. The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger. Oxford 1985, p. 236, no. R38, ill.no. 246. - exhibition catalogue Edinburgh 1993: Holbein and the Court of Henry VIII. Drawings and Miniatures from the Royal Library Windsor Castle. edited by Jane Roberts 1993, p. 68, illustrated. exhibtion catalogue Orlando 1987: Drawings by Holbein from the Court of Henry VIII. edited by Jane Roberts, Houston 1987, no. 48. - exhibition catalogue London 1996: Dynasties. Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530–1630, edited by Karen Hearn, London 1995, no. 9. inculding: Susan Foister: The Production and Reproduction of Holbein´s Portraits, p. 21- 28, p. 23. - Susan Foister: Holbein and England. New Haven und London, p. 69, illustrated.
With the inscription: GEORGIVS DOMINVS DE COMBHAM GVBERNATOR CALETTI ET PATER GULIHELLMI DE COMBHAM.
This portrait of George Brookes, 9th Baron Cobham, by a follower of Hans Holbein the Younger is closely related to a drawing in chalk by Holbein in the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle (RL 12195). The sizes of Holbein´s drawing and of the portrait, painted by an artist from the circle of Holbein or by a follower, are exactly the same. The roundel portrait, however, was not painted directly after the drawing, as Foister has stressed, but after a pattern that is now lost. Whether this pattern was also a painting and whether a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger himself ever existed is not clear.
Technological examination of the painting on the occasion of the exhibition in the Tate Gallery (1996) revealed a freehand underdrawing and smalt pigments that indicate that the background was once blue. There is no consensus about the date of the portrait. The drawing by Holbein was probably made between 1538 and 1543, the year of his death, the painting surely after 1544, when Lord Cobham was appointed deputy of Calais, the post which is mentioned in the inscription. Moreover, Foister has specified 1549 as terminus ante quem, as Lord Cobham received the order of the garter in that year. This conclusion, however, is not unambiguous if one assumes that the artist followed the pattern exactly when painting this portrait. Accordingly, other scholars assumed that the portrait might be of later date.
Lord Cobham was the epitome of the successful courtier of the Tudor period who made his political and military career during the reign of Henry VIII and Edward VI. The order of the garter and the post of deputy of Calais have already been mentioned. He fought in France and Scotland, participated at the trial against Anne Boleyn, supported the cause of the reformation, and like other favorites of the king he profited from the dissolution of the monasteries. Under Edward VI he was also member of the Privy Council. Later, his grandson was to participate in the Catholic plots against James I and the barony of Cobham was forfeited.