Never Before Seen Portrait: Thomas Seymour

While perusing the Tudor-net I came across a link to Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The link brings you to a mostly white page with red accents and… oh yeah, a sketch by Hans Holbein the Younger that might also be Thomas Seymour.

Copyright: Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2017. All Rights Reserved

This portrait is of a man who is bare-headed, has a fairly neat beard and is wearing a fur collar. The museum states the sketch was made from 1535-1540. In my opinion we can narrow that down even further. When Thomas’ sister Jane married the King of England his status changed immediately, and because of that I can confidently say that the earliest date for this sketch would be 1536. In 1536, Seymour would have been roughly 30 years old. To me, the sitter of the sketch looks like he could be around that age.

We know Thomas Seymour had a beard and mustache, so that matches…but in all his other known portraits he is wearing a hat — appears to be the same hat in each portrait. The pin on his hat is for his ‘membership’ in the Order of the Garter. Could this be Thomas?

If the oldest date that this could have been sketched was 1540, that would mean that King Henry VIII was still alive, and with that, Seymour had not yet been made a baron or Lord High Admiral.

In 1547 Thomas Seymour was made Knight of the Garter. Is this how a knight, and brother-in-law to the King would dress? In my opinion, most definitely. All of the current portraits we know of Thomas Seymour all having him wearing black, and the same black plumed hat with the Garter pin.



Holbein Sketch: Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2017. All Rights Reserved

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2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Oh whoops, I meant Queen Jane.
    How embarrassing.
    (His wife Katherine Parr was on my mind, not that that is any excuse.)
    Anyhow, I have since checked out the link you give to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
    I would never have found it without your post.
    Thanks again!

  2. Thank you, Rebecca, for a very astute correlation.
    I do agree that Holbein’s portrait is of Thomas Seymour. As the brother of Queen Katherine, he would have had himself sketched.
    He was also very ambitious and jealous; these characteristics are seen in his far-away look and stubborn mouth.
    He was a handsome athletic man, proud of his body, and pushy when dealing with women.
    That is all there in Holbein, but in no other portrait.
    Since I am writing about the family from a very detailed and practical point of view, I am extremely grateful for your insight and work.

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