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The Emperor Charles V

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (painted)

  • Date:

    1525-1530 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Horenbout, Lucas (artist)
    van Orley, Bernaert (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum laid down on card

  • Credit Line:

    Transferred from the British Museum

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery, case 2

Charles V was Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, ruler of all the Habsburg domains. This miniature is a version of an oil painting (in the British Royal Collection) made in the studio of Bernart van Orley. King Henry VIII was married to the Emperor's aunt, Catherine of Aragon, and the Emperor probably sent the oil portrait as a gift to the Tudor court. Lucas Horenbout ((also known as Hornebolte) made other reduced copies of oil portraits, including a miniature of Henry VIII’s grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. In 1534 Horenbout received a formal grant of the office of the King's painter, and on the same day became a ‘denizen’, a special form of citizenship granted to foreigners.

Physical description

Portrait of a man, head and shoulders, turned to and looking to right; wearing a black hat and a pendant around his neck. Circle edged with gold.

Place of Origin

England (painted)


1525-1530 (painted)


Horenbout, Lucas (artist)
van Orley, Bernaert (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum laid down on card

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed on the reverse


Diameter: 42 mm

Object history note

Provenance: Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753); recorded in his inventory under no. 276 as “Philip the 2d of Spain painted in miniature by Oliver”; passed with his collection to the British Museum in 1754; transferred along with twenty-two other miniatures to the V&A, 1934.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of the Emperor Charles V, watercolour on vellum, painted by Lucas Hornebolte, 1525-1530.

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

Strong, Roy. Artists of the Tudor Court: the Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620.. London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1942, London: HMSO, 1955.


Vellum; Watercolour



Subjects depicted

Pendant; Emperor


Paintings; Portraits; Royalty


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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