Lady Guildford (Mary Wotton, born 1500)

Copy after Hans Holbein the Younger (British, 16th century)

Oil on wood
32 1/8 x 26 1/8 in. (81.6 x 66.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of William K. Vanderbilt, 1920
Accession Number:
  • Catalogue Entry


  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Dated and inscribed: (top left) ANNO·MDXXVII ÆTATIS·SVÆ 27; (on book) VITA.CHRISTI (Life of Christ)

  • Provenance

    Richard Plantagenet Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Stowe, Buckinghamshire (until 1848; his sale, Christie's, at Stowe house, September 12, 1848, Addenda no. A 16, for £16.5.6 to Rodd); [Horace Rodd, London, 1848; sold to Frewen]; Thomas Frewen, Brickwall House, Northiam, Sussex (1848–d. 1870); Edward Frewen, Brickwall House (1870–until at least 1880); [Asher Wertheimer, London, about 1886?]; William K. Vanderbilt, New York (by 1907–d. 1920)

  • Exhibition History

    London. South Kensington Museum. "National Portraits Commencing with the Fortieth Year of the Reign of George the Third and Ending with the Year MDCCCLXVII," April 13–?, 1868, no. 659 (as "Lady Guildeford" by Hans Holbein, lent by Thomas Frewen).

    London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition: Holbein and His School," 1880, no. 171 (as "Portrait of Lady Guildford," by Hans Holbein, lent by Edward Frewen).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition," May 8–August 1920, unnumbered cat. (p. 8, lent by William K. Vanderbilt).

    New York. Barnard College. "Feminine Elegance Through the Centuries," November 17–December 19, 1958, no catalogue.

  • References

    Henry Rumsey Forster. The Stowe Catalogue. London, 1848, p. 163, no. A16, as Lady Guildford by Holbein, sold to H. Rodd; notes that the buyer has since disposed of it to Thomas Frewen of Brickwall House, Northiam, Sussex.

    Alfred Woltmann. Holbein and his Time. London, 1872, p. 314, states that he has not seen this portrait of Lady Guildford, formerly at Stowe, but asserts that [Sir George] Scharf considers it original.

    Alfred Woltmann. "Des Kunstlers Familie, Leben und Schaffen." Holbein und seine Zeit. [1], 2nd rev. ed. Leipzig, 1874, p. 344.

    Alfred Woltmann. "Excurse, Beilagen, Verzeichnisse der Werke von Hans Holbein d. Ä., Ambrosius Holbein, Hans Holbein d. J." Holbein und seine Zeit. 2, 2nd rev. ed. Leipzig, 1876, p. 138, no. 206.

    [F. G. Stephens]. "The Royal Academy.—Winter Exhibition (Second Notice)." Athenæum no. 2725 (January 17, 1880), pp. 92–94, calls it a once fine portrait, "much rubbed, repaired, and over-varnished," but certainly a genuine Holbein; describes it in detail and with admiration.

    Gerald S. Davies. Hans Holbein the Younger. London, 1903, p. 219, as by Holbein, incorrectly locates it in the collection of T. Frewen.

    "Four Paintings Lent by Mr. William K. Vanderbilt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 2 (March 1907), p. 45, as by Holbein, the companion to the portrait of Sir Henry Guildford at Windsor.

    William Bode. "More Spurious Pictures Abroad Than in America." New York Times (December 31, 1911), p. SM4.

    Paul Ganz. Hans Holbein d. J.: Des Meisters Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1912, pp. 227, 253 (note to p. 227), refers to our portrait as Holbein's original in publishing the miniature belonging to Mrs. Joseph, London; mentions a drawing in Basel that must be considered a study for our painting, in spite of many differences.

    Arthur B. Chamberlain. Hans Holbein the Younger. London, 1913, vol. 1, pp. 320–21; vol. 2, p. 348, erroneously identifies it with the portrait of "Lady Guldeford" by Holbein in the Lumley Castle inventory of 1590 and adds that it was later in the collection of the Duke of Buckingham at Stowe; accepts it as a once fine portrait, now much rubbed and repaired.

    Lionel Cust. "The Lumley Inventories." Walpole Society 6 (1917–18), p. 26, publishes the 1590 Lumley inventory and erroneously identifies the portrait of "Lady Guilfourd" listed in it as the example formerly with Mr. Frewen and now with Mr. Vanderbilt.

    "The William K. Vanderbilt Bequest." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 15 (December 1920), p. 268, ill. on front cover.

    "Pictures Lent for the Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 15 (August 1920), p. 184, mentions a drawing, "evidently for the portrait," in the gallery at Basel.

    Mary F. S. Hervey. The Life, Correspondence & Collections of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, 'Father of Vertu in England'. Cambridge, 1921, p. 482, erroneously lists this picture as no. 186 in the 1655 Arundel inventory.

    H. A. Schmid in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. 17, Leipzig, 1924, p. 344, calls it a heavily restored painting by Holbein.

    Paul Ganz. "An Unknown Portrait by Holbein the Younger." Burlington Magazine 47 (September 1925), pp. 113–14.

    W. R. V[alentiner]. "The Portrait of Sir Harry Guildford by Hans Holbein the Younger." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 8 (December 1926), p. 28, as "rightly said to be a copy of the period".

    Wilhelm Stein. Holbein. Berlin, 1929, p. 151, calls it a copy of a lost original by Holbein.

    Mary Evans. Costume Throughout the Ages. Philadelphia, 1930, ill. p. 136, describes the portrait as having the "feminine headdress and neck line of the period of Henry VIII".

    H. A. Schmid. Die Werke Hans Holbeins in Basel. Exh. cat.Basel, 1930, pp. 25, 75–76, pl. 10, calls it an old copy or a very badly damaged original, noting that it corresponds to the Basel drawing.

    Paul Ganz. Hans Holbein's Portrait of Lady Guildford: A Comparative Study [unpublished brochure for St. Louis painting]. December 3, 1932, unpaginated, ill., considers the picture in St. Louis [Saint Louis Art Museum] the original work by Holbein, and our painting a copy after it.

    Shane Leslie. Letters and unpublished manuscript. 1935–36, concludes that both our portrait and the one in St. Louis were at Lumley Castle.

    C. N. "Paintings by Old Masters." Burlington Magazine 67 (July 1935), p. 41, asserts that the name is more properly spelled "Gudeford".

    Max J. Friedlaender. "The Literature of Art: A Catalogue of German Paintings of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in American Collections, by Charles L. Kuhn [1936]." Burlington Magazine 69 (July 1936), p. 44, notes that "the fact that the 'Portrait of Lady Guildford' in the Metropolitan Museum is a weak copy might have been stated more definitely".

    Paul Ganz Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel. "Zwei Werke Hans Holbeins d. J. aus der Frühzeit des ersten englischen Aufenthalts." Festschrift zur Eröffnung des Kunstmuseums. Basel, 1936, p. 156, states that before the original portrait of Lady Guildford was found, the MMA panel, which is slightly smaller, was thought to be the prototype; identifies the sitter as Mary Wotton, the second wife of Sir Henry.

    Charles L. Kuhn. A Catalogue of German Paintings of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in American Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1936, p. 80, no. 353, pl. LXXIII, as by Holbein, somewhat over-restored; suggests that the version with Colnaghi, London [by then with Saint Louis Art Museum], may be the original.

    Wilhelm Waetzoldt. Hans Holbein der Jüngere: Werk und Welt. Berlin, 1938, p. 205, pl. 105, considers it an old copy of the original with Colnaghi [by then with St. Louis Art Museum].

    Katherine Morris Lester and Bess Viola Oerke. An Illustrated History of Those Frills and Furbelows of Fashion Which Have Come to be Known as Accessories of Dress. Peoria, Ill., 1940, pl. VII [reprinted as "Accessories of Dress: An Illustrated Encyclopedia," Mineola, N.Y., 2004].

    Charles Nagel Jr. "Holbein's 'Lady Guldeford'." Bulletin of the City Art Museum of St. Louis 28 (May 1943), p. 7 [reprinted in part in Art Quarterly 6 (1943), p. 70].

    Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 223–25, ill., as "Lady Guldeford (or Guilford)"; call it a sixteenth-century copy after Hans Holbein the Younger and mention the St. Louis picture as generally accepted as Holbein's original.

    Millia Davenport. The Book of Costume. New York, 1948, vol. 1, p. 428, no. 1143, ill. (cropped).

    Heinrich Alfred Schmid. Hans Holbein der Jüngere: Sein Aufstieg zur Meisterschaft und sein englischer Stil. 1–2, Basel, 1948, vol. 1, pp. 83, 118; vol. 2, pp. 282, 289, 300, refers to the St. Louis portrait as "another version" of ours and comments on the similar pilaster in the Erasmus portrait of 1523 in London [on loan to National Gallery, London].

    Paul Ganz. The Paintings of Hans Holbein. London, 1950, p. 232, under no. 45, as a smaller copy of the painting in St. Louis; notes that Lady Guildford outlived her husband and later married Sir Gaw[a]in Carew.

    Holbein and His Contemporaries. Exh. cat., John Herron Art Museum. Indianapolis, 1950, unpaginated, under no. 34, mentions our picture as an early copy of the St. Louis portrait.

    Hans Werner Grohn in L'opera pittorica completa di Holbein il Giovane. Milan, 1971, pp. 96–97, no. 54, ill., appears to identifiy the picture at Stowe and our portrait as two separate works and erroneously includes Sir John Ramsden in the provenance.

    John Fletcher. Letter to John Pope-Hennessy. March 5, 1982, based on dendrochronological analysis concludes that the panel cannot have been used before 1550 and was most likely used between 1550 and 1560; suggests an attribution to Hans Eworth, who copied other Holbein portraits; hypothesizes about possible descendants of the sitter who might have commissioned this copy.

    John Rowlands. Holbein: The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger. Oxford, 1985, p. 133, under no. 26, notes that "it is generally agreed that the St. Louis painting is by Holbein and that the New York version is a copy"; mentions a later miniature copy without the background in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London [see Ref. Ganz 1912; apparently no longer there].

    Maryan Ainsworth. "'Paternes for phiosioneamyes': Holbein's Portraiture Reconsidered." Burlington Magazine 132 (March 1990), p. 178 n. 132, notes that infrared reflectography revealed no underdrawing.

    D. M. Klinger and Antje Höttler. Die Malerbrüder Ambrosius und Hans d. J. Holbein. Cheb, Czech Republic, 1998, p. 128.

    Peter Klein. Letter to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. April 24, 2006, concludes from dendrochronological analysis that the earliest creation date for the painting is 1540 and that creation is more plausible from 1546 upwards.

  • Notes

    Mary Wotton, daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, was the second wife of Sir Henry Guildford, Master of the Horse and Comptroller of the Household of Henry VIII. Her husband predeceased her and she later married Gawen [or Gawain] Carew. This portrait of her, formerly considered Holbein's original, has been viewed as a copy since the 1930s, when a compositionally identical portrait of higher quality first came on the art market; the latter, now in the St. Louis Art Museum, is accepted as Holbein's original. A preparatory drawing for it is in the Basel Kunstmuseum, and an engraving by Wenzel Hollar (Parthey no. 1410) is in the MMA Department of Drawings and Prints. The St. Louis picture and Holbein's original portrait of Sir Henry Guildford in the Royal Collection were clearly composed as pendants.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History