The death of Henry VIII

On this day in 1547, Henry VIII “dyed at hys most princely howse at Westminster, comenly called Yorkeplace or Whytehall”  (Stow).

An Allegory of Reformation - Copy.png

There is an extraordinary at least broadly contemporary anonymous painting of the scene in the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square.  It is entitled “An Allegory of Reformation”, and depicts  on the left Henry on his death-bed handing his kingly power, and with it the responsibility for the defence of the Protestant faith, to the central figure of his young son, the future Edward VI – with a defeated Catholic Pope at his feet!  Standing to Edward’s left is his uncle, Edward Seymour, First Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector.  Seated round a table, under a painting of image-breaking, are: in white vestments, Thomas  Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; with a grey beard, John Russell, First Earl of Bedford and Lord Privy Seal; and five further gentlemen whose identities are either disputed or altogether unknown.

The site of Whitehall Palace is visited on our “St Paul’s to Westminster Abbey” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart  London” and “Rebellious London” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of the web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” page, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

2 thoughts on “The death of Henry VIII

  1. Michael Mulhall

    There is certainly one more cleric, as the middle man at table with his back to the viewer is wearing a full tonsure. And those wearing the chains of office might also harbor a clue.

    Reply
  2. rafterd1972

    What an interesting painting. Apparently very accurate portraits of the gentlemen pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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