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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

William Reskimer (d.1552)


Creator: Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543) (artist)
Creation Date: 
Black and coloured chalks, pen and ink, and metalpoint on pale pink prepared paper
29.0 x 21.0 cm
P(H) 31
RL 12237
Acquirer: Edward VI, King of England (1537-53)
Edward VI, 1547; Henry FitzAlan, 12th Earl of Arundel; by whom bequeathed to John, Lord Lumley, 1580; by whom probably bequeathed to Henry, Prince of Wales, 1609, and thus inherited by Prince Charles (later Charles I), 1612; by whom exchanged with Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke, 1627/8; by whom given to Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel; acquired by Charles II by 1675

A portrait drawing of William Reskimer (d.1552). A bust length portrait in profile to the left. A preparatory study for the painted portrait of Reskimer in the Royal Collection (RCIN 404422). Inscribed in an eighteenth-century hand at upper left and right: Reskemeer a Cornish...Gent:.

William Reskimer (d.1552), who came from Cornwall, as the later inscription on the drawing records, held a number of minor positions at Henry VIII’s court, among them Page of the Chamber. In 1543 he was granted keepership of the ports of the Duchy of Cornwall and in 1546 was appointed Gentleman Usher. The sitter has been identified as William rather than his brother John (who also held positions at court) due to the provenance of the painted portrait of the sitter (also in the Royal Collection), which was presented to Charles I by Sir Robert Killigrew, a direct descendant of William.

This drawing is on the type of paper that Holbein favoured on his return to England in 1532: these are smaller than those he used in the 1520s and have been prepared with a pink ground before being used. A comparison of drawing and painting shows just how closely Holbein followed the former: the painting deviates only marginally in the contour of the inside of the earlobe, and even such details as the fine lines around Reskimer’s eyes and the shadows on his cheeks follow the original drawing. The drawing was probably transferred to the panel by tracing the outlines with a stylus.

Catalogue entry adapted from The Northern Renaissance. Dürer to Holbein, London 2011

Further details

Additional Acquirers: Prince Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1st son of James I, King of Great Britain (1594-1612)
Charles II, King of Great Britain (1630-85)
Unframed Drawings / Watercolours