William Parr, Marquess of Northampton

William Parr (1513–1571) was the brother of Catherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII. Renowned for his taste and good looks, Parr is shown wearing a fur-edged gown made of white and purple velvet and satin (as indicated by the artist’s inscriptions). Also included are quick sketches showing details of various jewels that he supposedly wore. The object at upper left probably depicts St. George and the Dragon, likely a reference to George as a patron saint of the chivalric Order of the Garter, to which Parr belonged. Below, Holbein included a study of a jewel inscribed with the word MORS (death), probably part of a longer motto or device.

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98–1543)
William Parr, Marquess of Northampton, 1538–42
Black and colored chalks, white opaque watercolor, pen and black ink, and brush and ink on pink prepared paper
Inscribed, in German: wis felbet (white velvet), burpor felbet (purple velvet), wis satin (white satin), w (for weiss [white]) five times, Gl (gold) twice, gros (size), and MORS (death)
Lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; RCIN 912231

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022