Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 - 1543) was a German born painter who is considered one of the finest portraitists in the Early Modern Period. As a court painter for Henry VIII, Hans drew many portraits of both Henry VIII, and the extended royal family. He is also known for painting many richly colored religious works in the late Gothic style. Our large collection of Hans Holbein the Younger patterns includes several portraits of Henry VIII, as well as those of Erasmus, Jane Seymour, Boniface Amerbach, Thomas Chromwell, Christina of Denmark, Jan Small, Anne of Cleves, and Sir Thomas More. There are also several religious patterns including The Last Supper and Adam and Eve, and a self-portrait.

Patterns Included In This Set:


The Ambassadors

Sir Thomas More

King Edward VI as child


Anne of Cleves

Catherine Howard

Boniface Amerbach


King Edward - age 6

Jane Small

Sir Brian Tuke


Georg Gisze

Sir Richard Southwell

Henry VIII


Henry VIII

Henry VIII

Nikolaus Kratzer


The Artist's Family

Lady Mary Guildford

Sir Henry Guildford



Self Portrait

Unknown Young Man at his Office Desk


Thomas Howard - Prince of Norfolk

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour


Sir Nicholas Poyntz

Robert Cheseman

William Warham


The Darmstadt Madonna

The Last Supper

Venus and Amor


St. Ursula

Benedict von Hertenstein

Presumed Portrait of the Artist's Wife


Dorethea Meyer

LaÔs of Corinth

Adam and Eve


Erasmus of Rotterdam

Member of the Wedigh Family

Thomas Chromwell


Christina of Denmark

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Hans Holbein the Younger (born c. 1497 Ė died 1543) was a German portrait painter, designer, draftsman, and printmaker. His works are remarkable for the realistic attention to detail and rendering of textures, costumes and jewelry of his subjects.

The details of Holbeinís early life are rather vague; even the exact year of his birth is unknown. However, it is recorded that he was born in Augsburg, Germany to a family of painters. His father, Hans Holbein the Elder, painted altar pieces for local churches. The young Hans and his brother Ambrosius learned to paint in their fatherís studio and in 1514 or 1515, the two brothers were sent to work in Basel, where they painted murals, produced woodcut prints, and designed stained glass windows. During this period Holbein visited Italy to see the works of the Italian masters and Lucerne to work with his father on a set of murals for the city hall.

Ambrosius died tragically in 1519 and Hans took over their workshop, joining the Basel painterís guild and marrying Elsbeth Binsenstock. She was a widow with a son from her previous marriage. The couple had another two sons and two daughters together. Holbein was doing well after his marriage; he became a town burgher and had many commissions. Some of his most famous woodcuts from this period include illustrations for Martin Lutherís German translation of the Bible and a series of prints entitled The Dance of Death. He came to know Erasmus, the famous Dutch humanist, who commissioned Holbein to produce a set of pen and ink illustrations for his satirical work, The Praise of Folly. Holbein also painted three portraits of Erasmus.

Around 1525 Switzerland became embroiled in the factional fighting of the Reformation and work became scarce. Holbein set out for England to try his luck, taking with him two letters of introduction from Erasmus. One of the letters was addressed to Sir Thomas More, who later became Lord Chancellor. Holbein painted several official portraits of him, which show the meticulous attention to detail and the decorative effects for which he would later become famous. Holbein was successful in England and stayed there for two years, returning to his wife and children in Basel only in 1528.

Back in Basel, Holbein received commissions but the aftershock of the Reformation made life for painters impossible. Religious paintings were being destroyed, Erasmus had gone into exile and in 1532, Holbein decided to leave. Abandoning his family for the second time, he set out again for England. He would never return.

Much had changed in London during the two years Holbein had been away, Sir Thomas More had quarreled with King Henry VIII and would be executed a few years later. Holbein needed new patrons. Word of his exquisite portraits soon reached the Tudor Court and in 1536 Holbein was appointed official painter to King Henry VIII. He is thought to have done around 150 portraits for the court. He painted life-size murals and charming miniatures. Notable among these works is a life size portrait of Henry VIII. One of Holbeinís trademarks was his fascination with textures: jewelry, velvet, needlepoint, fur, buttons and plants are all painted with realism and attention to detail, although critics claim that this attention to detail came at the expense of revealing the personality of his subjects. The only portrait he ever painted where the emotion of his sitters can be seen is the unhappy group portrait of the wife and children he had left behind in Basel. Interestingly, as a result of his realistic portraits, Holbein was also appointed fashion designer to the court. He designed state robes, buttons, buckles, even the decorations for the coronation of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, who would later be beheaded.

Holbein painted many portraits of Henry VIIIís wives and following the death of Jane Seymour, Henryís third wife, in 1539 the king sent Holbein to paint the portraits of eligible brides. One of the potential brides was Anne of Cleves. Henry, taken by the beauty of Holbeinís portrait, decided to marry her. Alas, the portrait of Ann was more beautiful than the real thing and, disenchanted, Henry divorced Ann in the same year he married her.

In 1543, while Holbein was working on a portrait of Henry VIII, the plague struck London and Holbein fell victim. His will showed that he had two children born out of wedlock. He left no possessions, but he did leave a body of work that would influence English painters for the next generation.

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