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Queen Katherine and Patience

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    1842 (exhibited)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Leslie, Charles Robert (R.A.), born 1794 - died 1859 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries, case WE

Object Type
Oil paintings with subjects taken from popular literature steadily replaced commissions for history paintings in the early 19th century. The public, and most collectors of modern works, began to prefer lighter, sometimes more sentimental, themes. However, as well as painting scenes from humorous literature, Leslie also chose sombre subjects like this one.

Subjects Depicted
Since the end of the 18th century there had been a massive revival of interest in the works of Shakespeare, and many artists exhibited paintings that illustrated scenes from his plays. Here Leslie depicts Act III, Scene 1 from Henry VIII. The picture shows Henry's first wife, Katherine of Aragon (Shakespeare's 'Queen Katharine'), in a melancholy mood because of the King's growing estrangement. When the painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1842, a quotation from the play, as well as the title of the picture, was given in the catalogue.

Although Leslie based his representation of Queen Katherine on contemporary portraits, he was not strictly archaeological. Like most of his fellow artists in the 1840s, he tended to mingle various styles and periods. What we would now regard as separate historical styles, and identify as 'late medieval', 'Renaissance', 'Jacobean' and so on, artists then saw as one style, which they simply called 'Old English'.

Physical description

Queen Katharine and Patience (Shakespeare, Henry VIII, Act III Scene)


1842 (exhibited)


Leslie, Charles Robert (R.A.), born 1794 - died 1859 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

oil on canvas


Height: 58.3 cm estimate, Width: 50.7 cm estimate, Height: 83.5 cm framed, Width: 75.5 cm framed

Object history note

Commissioned by John Sheepshanks and given to the Museum in 1857. Painted by Charles Robert Leslie RA (1794-1859)

Descriptive line

Oil painting depicting Queen Katharine and Patience, from Henry VIII by Shakespeare, Charles Robert Leslie, 1839

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 169-70

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Fascination with Medieval and other ancient styles was matched by a growing interest in Shakespeare and other historic authors. This painting illustrates a scene from Shakespeare's 'Henry VIII'. The artist worked from original portraits of Katherine of Aragon. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1842


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting


British Galleries; Paintings; Royalty; Shakespeare


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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