Queen Katherine Parr: “The Jersey Portrait”

The portrait known as “The Jersey Portrait,” was once thought to depict Lady Jane Grey. Through thorough research however, the conclusion is that this is a portrait of Queen Katherine Parr.

“Parr is known to have commissioned numerous portraits of herself while married to Henry VIII, and this portrait was no doubt one of the many produced and given to friends and family.” (Susan James)

From Dr. Edwards, author of the site “Some Grey Matter“: “The Earl of Jersey informed me via email on 12 November 2012 that an unnamed friend of his mother had previously conducted an unpublished study of the painting. That friend concluded independently that the sitter was Katherine Parr. The friend’s findings were reviewed by experts at Sotheby’s auction house, and Sotheby’s “concurred” with the findings. None of this was known to me prior to 12 November, and neither the friend nor Sotheby’s have published that independent report.”

Little is known about the painting. It is oil on wood panel, consistent with sixteenth-century practices. It is about three-quarter life-size, according to the current Earl of Jersey, measuring 34 inches high by 24 inches wide. The frame bears a label of unknown age and origin identifying the sitter as Queen Mary. No detailed provenance information has ever been published, so that it is not possible to know when or how it came into the Jersey collection at Osterley House. It is worth noting that the original Tudor-era Osterley House had been built in the 1570s by Sir Thomas Gresham, who held Lady Jane’s sister Lady Mary Keyes [Grey] in custody from 1569 to 1572. The Osterley House built by Gresham fell into ruin in the eighteenth century, however, making it unlikely that the portrait originated there. Osterley was acquired and rebuilt in the 1760s by Sir Francis Child, ancestor of the 9th Earl of Jersey. The painting almost certainly entered the Jersey collection after 1760 as decoration for the new house. The painting survives and is now owned by The Earldom of Jersey Trust and held at Radier Manor in the Isle of Jersey. (Edwards)

For more information on the portrait: “Some Grey Matter: THE JERSEY PORTRAIT

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