Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Henry VII, Elizabeth of York, Henry VIII and Jane Seymour
Within a richly decorated Renaissance interior, Henry VII (1457-1509) and his son Henry VIII (1491-1547) stand to the left of a central sarcophagus inscribed with Latin verses celebrating the Tudor dynasty; their queens, Elizabeth of York (1465-1503) and Jane Seymour (1509-1537) stand on the other side.
This small painting was copied by the Flemish artist Remigius van Leemput for Charles II from the life-size mural on the wall of the Privy Chamber in Whitehall which was painted by Holbein for Henry VIII in 1537. The wall-painting was destroyed by the fire at Whitehall Palace on 4 January 1698 and this is the only complete record of the mural. Holbein's original preparatory cartoon for the left half of the composition is in the National Portrait Gallery.
The first part of the Latin inscription on the plinth in the centre of the composition translates: ‘If it pleases you to see the illustrious images of heroes, look on these: no picture ever bore greater. The great debate, competition and great question is whether father or son is the victor. For both, indeed, were supreme'.