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Oil painting - Hans of Antwerp
  • Hans of Antwerp
    Holbein, Hans II the younger, born 1497 - died 1543
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Hans of Antwerp

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1532 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Holbein, Hans II the younger, born 1497 - died 1543 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58b, case 3

Object Type
This is one of the portraits that the German artist Hans Holbein painted of German merchants when he was resident in London in the years 1526-1528 and 1532-1543. The merchants resided in the Steelyard, which adjoined Dowgate. It was the place where the King's steelyard or beam was set up, for weighing goods imported into London.

Subjects Depicted
There is another portrait of the same man by Holbein in the Royal Collection. Some believe that the subject is the goldsmith Hans von Antwerpen (or Hans or John of Antwerp, as he was variously known in England). The rich costume suggests, however, that the sitter was a wealthy merchant, a member of the Hanse or league of German merchants. The Steelyard, or German House, was surrounded by a wall, which contained the merchants' warehouses, weigh house, church, offices and dwellings, which they had occupied since 1320. These merchants, originally from Cologne, were free from all London tolls and were permitted to trade at fairs throughout England. English merchants, jealous of their success, tried for many years to persuade the Monarch to revoke the privileges of these 'Strangers'. They were successful only in 1597, in the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). The Steelyard was closed in 1598.

Physical description

Oil painting

Place of Origin

London (probably, painted)


ca. 1532 (made)


Holbein, Hans II the younger, born 1497 - died 1543 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

oil on panel


Height: 13.1 cm unframed, Depth: 0.8 cm unframed, Height: 13.6 cm framed

Object history note

Salting Bequest, 1910
By Hans Holbein (born in Augsburg, Germany, 1497, died in London, 1543), probably painted in London

Descriptive line

Oil painting, Hans of Antwerp (Hans von Antwerpen), by Hans Holbein, c.1532

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

Foister, Susan, Holbein in England, London: Tate Publishing, 2007.
Foister, Susan, with contributions by Tim Batchelor. exh.cat. Holbein in England. London: Tate Publishing, 2006, p. 116, cat.no 127

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The man in this portrait was probably a German merchant living in London. Hans Holbein, who was also a 'stranger', painted several foreign merchants and artisans during his two periods working in England (1526-1528 and 1532-1543) as well as members of the court. He also designed goldsmiths' work and the title page to the first complete English translation of the Bible. [27/03/2003]


Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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