Portrait miniature of Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford thumbnail 1
Portrait miniature of Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Portrait miniature of Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford

Portrait Miniature
ca. 1555-1560 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Lady Katherine Grey was one of two sisters of the martyred Lady Jane Grey, whose ‘Nine Days Reign’ after the death of King Edward VI in 1553 resulted in her imprisonment and execution. As granddaughters of Henry VIII’s sister, Mary, Queen of France, the Grey sisters enjoyed the status of royal princesses. None the less, Katherine fared only slightly better than Jane. In 1560 she secretly married without royal permission, and with the birth of her child imminent, was locked in the Tower of London by Queen Elizabeth I. There is a miniature in a private collection, also by Levina Teerlinc, of Katherine holding her child and wearing a miniature of her husband, with whom she was never reunited. In 1563 she was transferred to the country, where she died in 1568.

On the basis of costume and the sitter's age, this miniature dates from the reign of Mary I (1553-1558), who Lady Jane Grey had unsuccessfully tried to usurp. Katherine would have been about 15 to 20 years old. The composition of this miniature is based on the formula of Hans Eworth, with the sitter painted to the waist with hands clasped together. The miniature has been attributed to Levina Teerlinc who was the daughter of Simon Benninck, a famous member of the Ghent-Bruges school of illuminators. She was part of the royal household, a gentlewoman to both Mary I and Elizabeth I.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Miniature
  • Lid
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour on vellum portrait miniature, contained in a box of turned ivory
Brief Description
Portrait miniature of Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford, watercolour on vellum, attributed to Levina Teerlinc and contained in a box of turned ivory, c. 1555-1560.
Physical Description
Portrait miniature of Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford, watercolour on vellum, contained in a box of turned ivory.
Styles
Object history
Provenance: Sold anonymously Sotheby’s June 1979 (lot 88).



In a chapter published in 2015 the work of Levina Teerlinc was re-examined as part of a reassessment of the workshop practice of Nicholas Hilliard (See Katherine Coombs and Alan Derbyshire, 'Nicholas Hilliard's Workshop Practice reconsidered', in 'Painting in Britain 1500-1630: Production, Influences and Patronage', ed. T.Cooper et al, Oxford, 2015, pp.241-251.) Levina Teerlinc worked for Henry VIII from 1546, receiving an annuity from the crown until her death in 1576. Teerlinc has been nominated as Hilliard’s likely tutor by Roy Strong and V.J.Murrell in their groundbreaking exhibition 'Artists of the Tudor Court', V&A, 1983, asserting that limning was a workshop tradition, passed from master to pupil. But Hilliard himself noted that Henry VIII employed ‘divers others’ for limning, some of whom plausibly worked for the crown after Henry’s death in 1547. The tendency to attribute miniatures from the 1550s and 1560s predominantly to Teerlinc has been encouraged by Strong’s creation of an oeuvre for this artist, and insistence on an unwavering line of descent from the so-called 'Ghent-Bruges tradition', with Teerlinc, the daughter of Simon Bening, the pivotal link to Hilliard. But examination of a few of those surviving miniatures from the 1550s to the 1560s suggest that they are probably by different hands, and cannot all be attributed to Teerlinc. The situation today is that there is no consensus as to works which have been attributed to Teerlinc. This work was acquired by the museum as a possible example of Teerlinc's work, but it has to remain an attribution.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Lady Katherine Grey was one of two sisters of the martyred Lady Jane Grey, whose ‘Nine Days Reign’ after the death of King Edward VI in 1553 resulted in her imprisonment and execution. As granddaughters of Henry VIII’s sister, Mary, Queen of France, the Grey sisters enjoyed the status of royal princesses. None the less, Katherine fared only slightly better than Jane. In 1560 she secretly married without royal permission, and with the birth of her child imminent, was locked in the Tower of London by Queen Elizabeth I. There is a miniature in a private collection, also by Levina Teerlinc, of Katherine holding her child and wearing a miniature of her husband, with whom she was never reunited. In 1563 she was transferred to the country, where she died in 1568.



On the basis of costume and the sitter's age, this miniature dates from the reign of Mary I (1553-1558), who Lady Jane Grey had unsuccessfully tried to usurp. Katherine would have been about 15 to 20 years old. The composition of this miniature is based on the formula of Hans Eworth, with the sitter painted to the waist with hands clasped together. The miniature has been attributed to Levina Teerlinc who was the daughter of Simon Benninck, a famous member of the Ghent-Bruges school of illuminators. She was part of the royal household, a gentlewoman to both Mary I and Elizabeth I.
Bibliographic Reference
Strong, Roy. Artists of the Tudor Court: the Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620.. London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983. Cat. 38, p. 53. Part Citation: "Attributed to Levina Teerlinc, Catherine Grey, Countess of Hertford, 1555-60. Lady Catherine Grey (1540-68), daughter of Frances, Marchioness of Dorset and Duchess of Suffolk and grand-daughter of Henry VIII’s sister, Mary, Queen of France and wife of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Together with her elder and younger sisters, Jane and Mary, enjoyed the status of Tudor princesses. Under Mary she first received the advances of the Duke of Somerset’s son, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. In 1560, without royal permission, she secretly married him, a fact which the imminent birth of a child brought to light. Sent to the Tower by Elizabeth, she was later, in 1563, transferred to confinement in the country where she died in 1568. The miniature is in its original turned ivory box. The identification as Lady Catherine Grey is secured by the very early inscription on the back of the miniature. A second version, very much repainted, of the same miniature but bearing the date 1549 is also in the V&A (P.21-1954). The date, however, is a later addition and the costume is typical of Mary’s reign which would accord with the age of the sitter, about fifteen to twenty, c. 1555-60. The formula is derived from portraits by Hans Eworth and this relationship is clearer in the second version which is to the waist and includes hands clasped together. A third miniature of the same sitter, which may also be by Teerlinc, is at Belvoir Caslte (Duke of Rutland) (Erna Auerbach, Hilliard, pl. 8), depicting the Countess wearing a miniature of her husband and carrying her son in her arms. The dating can therefore be established as the child was born on September 21st 1561 and must be about a year to eighteenth months in the miniatures, i.e. late 1562 or early 1563. Large-scale paintings, probably derived from the miniature, exist of this, e.g. Audley End, Petworth, Syon and Trinity College, Oxford."
Collection
Accession Number
P.10&A-1979

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record createdFebruary 21, 2003
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