The Royal Collection contains one of the finest collections of work by
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543). With the ability to work in a
variety of media, Holbein created painted portraits and miniatures,
designs for metalwork, stained glass and book illustrations throughout
his lifetime. Born in Augsburg, Holbein spent his early career in the Swiss
city of Basel, producing portraits of its residents, including the prominent
publisher Johannes Froben and the humanist Desiderius Erasmus.
Holbein came to England for the first time in 1526. His earliest English
commission was to create a group portrait of the humanist and politician
Sir Thomas More and his family. After a spell in Basel, Holbein returned
to England in 1532 and remained here until his death in 1543. During
this latter period, Holbein worked at the court of Henry VIII and by 1536
had been appointed painter to the king. Holbein produced portraits of
members of the royal family and eminent courtiers. As well as excelling
as a portrait painter, Holbein also worked as a miniaturist, producing
intimate images which were treasured as precious records.