The Trends

This decade would see the introduction of a new type of sleeves, the introduction of the partlet, and the final victory of the French hood over the English gable hood.

Anne of Cleves (1515 – 16 July 1557)

Anne of Cleves’s Sleeves

Anne of Cleves lands at Deal in England at 5 pm on the 27th of December in 1539, bringing with her a new type of sleeves that instantly become fashionable.

Margaret Wyatt, Lady Lee (c. 1506 – c. 1543)

Katherine Howard (c. 1524 – 13 February 1542)

Sir Richard Cromwell (c.1510–1544)

 Sir Richard Cromwell (c.1510–1544)

Portrait of a man in black

c.1600, after a portrait from 1539

Follower of Hans Holbein the Younger




Teri Fitzgerald makes a great case for this being Sir Richard Cromwell here: Sir Richard Cromwell: A King’s Diamond

Frances Murfyn, Lady Cromwell (c.1520 – between 1542 and 1544)

Frances Murfyn, Lady Cromwell (c.1520 – between 1542 and 1544)

The Toledo Portrait

Portrait of a Lady, probably a Member of the Cromwell Family


Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/98-1543)

Oil on wood panel | 28 3/8 in. (72 cm) x 19 1/2 in. (49.5 cm)

Toledo Museum of Art | 1926.57



I make a great case for this being his wife, Frances Murfyn, Lady Cromwell here: The Toledo Portrait

(Reasons for identification: Frances Murfyn, Lady Cromwell, whose direct descendants owned this portrait, had been dismissed as the sitter based on the erroneous belief that she died in 1533 and had been of an age to be married in about 1518. Newer research with access to more primary sources reveal that Frances lived until at least June 1542, when she is mentioned in a grant, and that is was Frances's parents who had been married about 1518, in 1519, not Frances herself. She had been born by the 2nd September of 1523, when her father, Thomas Murfyn, wrote his will, and she was married to Sir Richard Cromwell by the 8th of March 1534. This puts her not only as alive when these fashions would have been perfectly fashionable, but at presicely the right age to be the lady of 20 or 21 years of age in the portrait. ETATIS SVÆ 21 means 21 years of age. However, Holbein actually appears to use Anno Ætatis Svæ in several paintings and simply Anno Ætatis in several others, which is not proper Latin, making it unclear if he understood the literal meaning of the words. J. Stephan Edwards concludes: “Whether he understood "Aetatis Suae/His Age" to mean years from birth or ordinal year (i.e.: a newborn is in Year One and therefore "his age" is One) is unclear. In order to clarify that distinction, it would be necessary to research those sitters for whom a precise date of birth is known and then to determine precisely what time of year the sitter sat for the painting. The first data point is difficult but not impossible. The second is all but impossible. I am not aware that any artist or sitter of the 16th century documented the date(s) on which they sat for a portrait. I would therefore interpret Holbein inscriptions using "Aetatis Suae" as equivalent to the modern expression of age, plus or minus one.” I would therefore interpret Holbein inscriptions using "Aetatis Suae" as equivalent to the modern expression of age, plus or minus one.”)

* Painted between between the 27th of December 1539 when Anne of Cleves arrived in England and introduced this type of sleeves to that country and the 25th of March 1540 when the new year commenced for the Tudors, re: the inscription 1539 on the portrait of the man. In Tudor times in England the calendar year started from Lady Day (25 March), thus, to them, it would still have been 1539 until that date, three months into what for us would have been the new year 1540. The paintings were probably painted to be a portrait set, like the Guildfords.

Katherine Parr by Lucas Horenbout

The French Hood

By [1540], elongated gabled hoods would have been terribly out of style. The fashion of the early 1540’s dictated shortened frames aligned with the mouth, and even the adaptation of the more chic rounded French hood altogether. Even the austere order of the Grey Friars of London could not help but make note in their chronicle how beginning in 1540 ‘then began all the gentlewomen of England to wear French hoods with billiments of gold’. The popularity of French styles at Henry VIII’s court during this period was also observed by the ambassador Charles de Marillac who described Queen Katheryn Howard and her ladies as ‘vestue à la françoise’. Two New Faces: the Hornebolte Portraits of Mary and Thomas Boleyn? – Tudor Faces

Katherine Howard (c. 1524 – 13 February 1542)

An Unidentified Woman


Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543)

Black and coloured chalks, pen and ink, and brush and ink on pale pink prepared paper | 28.9 x 21.0 cm (sheet of paper)

The Royal Collection | RCIN 912253



*I have dated this to 1540–1543, a narrower time period than the Royal Collection does, based on the type of sleeves, which firmly dates the sketch to 1540–1543, the only time when both those sleeves would have been modern and Holbein would have been alive. Which is also the exact time of Katherine Howard's rise to prominence and queenship. The lady is even wearing what appears to be the consort necklace around her throat, only with six pearl clusters alternating with the precious stones set in quatrefoils instead of the four pearl clusters or the two pearl clusters we have seen previously. The billiments on her French hood are certainly fine enough to be those of a Queen. See our Katherine Howard page.

The Partlet

[W]e must first look at the fashion worn by ladies during the 1540’s. It was during this period that it became more favourable for ladies to cover the chest rather than the previous fashion of the chest being revealed by the low-cut French gowns. As seen in a portrait thought to depict Katherine Howard and now in the Royal Collection. This was achieved with the use of a partlet. Worn beneath the bodice and tied under the arms this would have been made from a fine fabric. The Beaufort Miniature Portrait – Lady Jane Grey Revisited

Katherine Howard (c. 1524 – 13 February 1542)

Mary I Tudor when a Princess

Katherine Parr – The Glendon Hall Portrait or NPG 4451

Katherine Parr - The Melton Constable or Hastings Portrait

Queen Katherine Parr


The Hastings or Melton Constable Portrait

Oil on canvas | 980 x 670 mm

National Trust | NT 1276906

Katherine Parr – The Jersey Portrait

Katherine Parr

Oil on panel | 34 in. x 24 in.

The Earldom of Jersey Trust – Radier Manor

Katherine Parr – NPG 4618

Blank space

Katherine Parr by Levina Teerlinc

Blank space

Katherine Parr


The Sudeley Miniature

Levina Teerlinc

Sudeley Castle

Elizabeth I when a Princess


Blank space

Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk

Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk


Hans Holbein the Younger

Grimsthorpe Castle