Friday, October 14, 2011

Question from Elizabeth - Holbein's "Maids of Honour" painting


I have been reading about a painting by Holbein "Maids of Honour to Mary of England Queen to Louis XII."

I think it is in the Royal Collection at Versailles or in the Louvre.

I cannot find an image of it online anywhere.

Can anyone help?

Many thanks



  1. The title seems to be: Maid of honour to Mary of England, Queen to Louis the Twelfth - see para.2:

    Can't find an image.

  2. According to this passage, the Holbein portrait of Mary's maid of honor at Versailles is one of Jane Seymour.
    "A full length portrait of her (Jane Seymour) by Holbein,in the Royal Collection at Versailles, entitled "Maid of Honor to Mary of England, Queen of Louis the Twelfth" and placed by the side of that of Anne Boleyn..."
    The site is http://www.
    I haven't been able to find the portrait either. Hopefully now that it's known that the maids of honor are Jane and Anne someone with more knowledge of the Versailles collection can provide an image.

  3. Lara, there was a discussion about whether Jane Seymour was ever in France with Queen Mary between yourself, KB, Kathy and PhD Historian back on November 5, 2008. You were all speaking of the veracity of Agnes Strickland's claim that Jane served Queen Mary in France and that there was a portrait of Jane from that time in the Louvre (not in Versailles).

  4. Here's the previous thread about Jane at the French court that Diane mentioned in the comment above:

    Given that Holbein was just entering a workshop in 1515 (which is the earliest date we have of his surviving works) - the year Louis XII died - it seems very unlikely to me that the portrait under discussion is actually a Holbein if it is supposed to have been painted while Mary and her ladies were in France. But of course, at least a few (including Anne Boleyn) stayed and served the next Queen, Francis I's wife Claude.

    Holbein was in France from around 1524-1525, so it is possible he painted any of Mary's ladies who stayed in Queen Claude's service if they were still there at that time. But, Queen Claude died in 1524 and Francis didn't remarry until 1530, so there wouldn't have been a Queen for ladies to serve during part of the time Holbein was in France. I'm not familiar enough with the French court to know if there were other positions that any of the English ladies who had been there during Mary and Claude's queenships may have stayed on in. (Anne Boleyn had already returned to England by 1522.)

    Given that those facts don't mesh very well and that the text posted at Luminarium (which is what is quoted at The Love for History site) is from a mid-19th century source, I think it is just a matter of confusion or mis-identification.


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