Henry VIII & the Barber Surgeons; Royal College of Surgeons
This large-scale work was commissioned to commemorate the grant of a royal charter to the Company of Barbers and the Guild of Surgeons on their merger in 1540. Presumably at the request of his clients, Holbein based the design on that of the miniatures painted on Tudor charters of privileges. Henry did not sit for this last of Holbein's portraits of him. Working from an existing sketch, Holbein painted him not so much as a living person but as an icon. The members of the company, however, were painted as individuals. The figures of Sir William Butts and the doctor John Chambers are closely related to portraits of them by Holbein. Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1498 — between 7 October and 29 November 1543) was a German artist and printmaker who worked in a Northern Renaissance style. He is best known as one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century. He also produced religious art, satire and Reformation propaganda, and made a significant contribution to the history of book design. He is called "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father, Hans Holbein the Elder, an accomplished painter of the Late Gothic school.