17 Jane Seymour, 1536–37
Vellum stuck to a playing card with three hearts verso, circular, 45 mm, 1 25/32 in. diam.
Jane Seymour (1509–1536), eldest daughter of Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall, was lady-in-waiting to both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. She attracted the attentions of Henry VIII in 1535 and, subsequent to Anne’s execution, married him in 1536, dying shortly after she gave birth to Edward VI.
This miniature bears a very early inscription identifying it as Jane Seymour, an identification which is supported by Holbein’s famous likenesses of her to which it bears a striking resemblance (cf. Ganz, Holbein, pls. 136, 138). As in these she has grey-blue eyes and certainly not the brown ones of her predecessor as Queen (no. 14). There can be no doubt that Hornebolte was influenced by Holbein’s portraits of her although, as in the case of Henry VIII, it is an independent portrait in which the figure is placed in a way typical of Hornebolte and certainly not of Holbein. The features are now damaged and much restored, even so, this is likely to have been an ad vivum miniature. Damage to the remainder of the miniature is, however, slight.
INSCRIBED: On the reverse a near contemporary inscription: Quene Jane (the Q has been clipped).
COLLECTIONS: Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill (Description of Strawberry Hill, 1774, p. 83); 14th Day Strawberry Hill sale 10th May 1842 (lot 67); purchased by J. C. Dent of Sudeley.
LITERATURE: Archaeologia, XL, 1866, p. 84.» (Artists of the Tudor Court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered, 1520-1620 (1983) by Roy Strong, p. 40-41)