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Imitations Of Original Drawings By Hans Holbein, In The Collection Of His Majesty, For The Portraits Of Illustrious Persons Of The Court Of Henry VIII. With Biographical Tracts. Published By John Chamberlaine, Keeper Of The King's Drawings And Medals, And F.S.A.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



London:: Printed By W. Bulmer And Co. Shakespeare Printing Office., 1792. [-1800.]

Physical Description

[iv], 2, 2, [2], 2, [6], 2, 2, [4], 2, [2], 2, [8], 2, 2, 2, [4], 2, [2], 2, 2, [2], 2, 2, 2, [4], 2, [2], 2, [2], 2, 2, [4], 2, [2], 2, 2, [8], 2, [10], 2, 2, 2, [6], 2, 2, 2, [8] p., 2 frontiss., [83] leaves carrying [84] pl.; 540 mm. (Broadsheet).

General Note

ESTC records two issues - both having 84 pl. on 83 leaves and text including an introduction by Chamberlaine carrying the date of June 4 1800, but one having [144] p. (and the 12th line of the Advertisement beginning 'Thomas') [ESTC T140028], and the other [148] p (incl. 2 extra leaves printed by Bensley) (and the 12th line of the Advertisement beginning 'mas'[as in the Royal Academy's copy]) [ESTC 140029].


[Frontis. (port.), frontis. (port.), t.p., dedic.] - Advertisement - [Plates, with biographic texts].

Responsibility Note

The biographic notes are by Edmund Lodge.

All plates are signed as engraved by F. Bartolozzi R.A., except three signed as engraved by C. Metz and one signed as engraved by C. Knight.

The publication is dedicated by John Chamberlaine to the Queen (Charlotte).


J.M. Friedman, Color printing in England 1486-1870 [exhibition catalogue] (1978), no.16, p.10-11; Life in England in aquatint and lithography ... library of J.R. Abbey (1953/R1972, 1991), no. 205, p.142-4.

E. Michael, Hans Holbein the younger: a guide to research (1997); J. Roberts, Holbein and the court of Henry VIII: drawings and miniatures from the Royal Library, Windsor [exhibition catalogue] (1993); S. Lambert, The image multiplied: five centuries of printed reproductions (1987); S. Foister, Drawings by Holbein from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle (1983); A. Dyson, 'The Engraving and Printing of the "Holbein Heads" ', in The Library, 6th ser. 5:3 (1983), p.223-36.
ESTC, T140028, T140029

Summary Note

The work was published serially in fourteen parts between March 1792 and February 1800. According to ESTC the completed work should contain an introduction by Chamberlaine carrying the date of June 4 1800.

This publication was a landmark in making the drawings known, for, as the Advertisement states, many 'have never heard that such a collection is extant, and very few indeed have ever seen the originals'. Chamberlaine went on to publish reproductions of other drawings in the royal collection.

The first frontispiece shows a self-portrait of Hans Holbein; the second, a portrait of his wife. The other plates show, as the title states, 'Drawings ... For The Portraits Of Illustrious Persons Of The Court Of Henry VIII' (including some members of the royal family): Sir John More, Ld. Vaux, the Duchess of Suffolk, J. Poins, P. Melanchthon, Ldy. Eliot, Sir Henry Guldeford, the earl of Southampton, Ldy. Lister, Sir Thomas Strange, Ld. Clinton, Ldy. Vaux, Edward VI, Ld. Wentworth, Ldy. Ratcliffe, J. Reskimer, T. Parrie (Parry), Ldy. Hobby, Sir Thomas More, Sir Thomas Wyat, Ldy. Parker, C. Wingfield, the Earl of Derby, Ldy. Audley, the Bishop of Rochester, Ld. Rich, Ldy. Rich, Sir Thomas Elyot, Sir William Sherington, the Marchioness of Dorset, Queen Jane (Seymour), J. More, Thomas earl of Surrey, Sir Nicholas Poins, Sir Richard Southwell, the Lady of Richmond, William (Warham) Archbishop of Canterbury, J. Colet, Ldy. Berkeley, Sir George Carew, N. Borbonius, Ldy. Meutas, John Russell earl of Bedford, Francis Russell earl of Bedford, Sir John Gage, Ldy. Henegham, Ld. Cobham, Ldy. Borough, Queen Anne (of Cleve), Sir John Godsalve, S. George, Ldy. Butts, Sir Philip Hobby, Sir Gawen Carew, Lady Mary (afterwards Queen), William Par marquis of Northampton, Henry Howard earl of Surrey, Countess of Surrey, Sir Nicholas Poins, Ldy. Monteagle, Queen Anne (Boleyn), Ormond, Queen Catherine (Howard), Mother Jak, [unidentified male], M. Souch (Zouch), Henry and Charles Brandon dukes of Suffolk, [unknown female], Edward Prince of Wales, Edward Prince of Wales, [four unknown males and seven unknown females].

Many plates are printed on pink paper, and have been tipped in.

Although Bartolozzi's stipples are described as imitations of the drawings, the engraver has taken the liberty of transforming what were studies for paintings into 'completed' compositions.

The work was issued in reduced size in 1812 and in 1828.


See RA Treasurer's Account Book, 1768-1795, [March?] 1792: 'first N.o Chamberl.n £1: 11: 6'; ibid., [after March] 1793: 'Burch Subs.n £1: 11s: 6' (2 re-imbursements of this amount paid to Edmund Burch RA, RA Librarian); ibid., 25 March (and later) 1794: two Numbers Chamberlains £4: 4s. / ditto 1 numb.r £2: 2s.'; the 7th and 8th numbers were purchased for £4 4s. in 1796 (see RA Treasurer's Account Book, 'Abstract of Bills', Michaelmas Quarter); nos. 9-10 in 1798 (with 1st number of Chamberlaine's Leonardo series) for £6 12s (ibid., Lady Day Quarter); the RA Treasurer produced nos. 11-12 at a Council meeting on 11 March 1799 (RA Council Minutes III, 27).

Copy Note

Incomplete; wanting Chamberlaine's letterpress 'Introduction' and 4 plates (i.e. the final two numbers?)

Binding Note

Contemporary calf; spine lettered 'Holbein's Portraits' and 'R.A.'

Name as Subject


Courtiers - Great Britain - History - 16th century
Drawings - Portraits - Great Britain - 16th century
Collections - Great Britain - Berkshire - Windsor Castle - History
Pictorial works - Stipple engravings - Color prints - Colour printing - A la poupée - Great Britain - 18th century