Anne Boleyn and Hans Holbein

On this page you will find pictures of the various pieces that Hans Holbein designed for Anne Boleyn.

Mount Parnassus

Hans Holbein was commissioned by Anne Boleyn to design displays for her coronation processions on the 31st May and 1st June 1533. One tableau was erected in Gracechurch Street and was a representation of Apollo and the Muses on Mount Parnassus.

The Basle Cup

This cup was designed by Hans Holbein for Anne Boleyn and it featured four satyrs, a crown cover and Anne’s device, a falcon, standing on roses.

This cup has often been mixed up with the table fountain that Anne gave Henry VIII in January 1534 but Eric Ives points out that the drawing of the Basle cup is not that of a water device and the descriptions of the table fountain do not make any mention of the crown cover or the four satyrs.

The Table Fountain

This silver-gilt table fountain was commissioned by Anne Boleyn as a New Year gift for Henry VIII for New Year 1534. It is described in Letters and Papers as:-

“A goodly gilt bason, having a rail or board of gold in the midst of the brim, garnished with rubies and pearls, wherein standeth a fountain, also having a rail of gold about it garnished with diamonds; out thereof issueth water, at the teats of three naked women standing at the foot of the same fountain.” LP vii. 9

Table Fountain designed by Hans Holbein

The Ambassadors

This famous Renaissance painting was painted in Spring 1533 by Hans Holbein and Eric Ives wonders if it was actually commissioned by Holbein’s patron at this time, Anne Boleyn. The pillar dial on the painting gives a date of the 11th April 1533, the very date that Henry VIII’s court was informed that Anne Boleyn was queen, so Anne may well have had something to do with this work of art.

You can read more about the history of this painting and its symbolism in my three part series which starts with “Holbein’s The Ambassadors: A Renaissance Puzzle? – Part One: Context”

See some of these posts about holbein,the-ambassadors




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