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Mary, Lady Guildford

Hans Holbein the Younger, German, 1497/98–1543
Lady Mary Wooten Guildford, English, c.1490–c.1527
Oil on panel
Made in
England, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 222
34 1/4 x 27 13/16 in. (87 x 70.6 cm)
framed: 46 1/4 x 40 x 3 1/4 in. (117.5 x 101.6 x 8.3 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Contact Us
Object Number
Henry Guildford was Comptroller under King Henry VIII. This splendid portrait of his wife, Mary Wooten, is among the most impressive of Hans Holbein the Younger's English paintings. Holbein excelled in verisimilitude, creating his precisely drawn countenances and richly detailed costumes with an economy of paint. This portrait is one of a pair that presented husband and wife. Hung with gold chains and embellished with pearls, Lady Guildford embodies worldly prosperity, and with her prayer book she is also the very image of propriety. Although a preparatory drawing for this painting, now in the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland, shows a winsome charmer who glances off to the side, Holbein changed the direction of his sitter's gaze to suggest a more mature woman. The background ivy may have been intended as an emblem of steadfastness.
by 1590 - 1609
John Lumley (c.1533-1609), 1st Baron Lumley, London, England [1]

1609 - 1646
Thomas Howard (1585-1646), 14th Earl of Arundel, London, England, by inheritance [2]

1646 - 1654
Aletheia Talbot Howard (d.1654), Countess of Arundel, London, England; Arundel Castle, Sussex, England; Amsterdam, The Netherlands, by inheritance [3]

1654 - 1680
William Howard (1612/1614-1680), 1st Earl of Stafford, London, England, by inheritance [4]

by 1719 - 1734
William Stafford-Howard (d.1734), 2nd Earl of Stafford, London, England, by inheritance [5]

by 1761 - still in 1766
Hugh (Smithson) Percy (1714-1786), 1st Duke of Northumberland, Northumberland House, London, England [6]

- c.1851
George Folliott (d. c.1851), Vicars Cross, Chester, England [7]

c.1851 -
Mrs. E. I. E. Folingsby Walker, by inheritance [8]

- 1930
James Folliott Folingsby, by inheritance [9]

A. L. Nicholson, purchased at sale of the Folliott collection at Sotheby & Co., London, May 14, 1930, lot no. 60 [10]

1930 - 1943
Colnaghi's and Matthiesen Gallery, London, England (owned jointly), purchased from A. L. Nicholson [11]

Jacob M. Heimann, New York, NY, USA [12]

1943 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased form Jacob M. Heimann [13]

There is a copy of this painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. Before the discovery of the St. Louis picture in 1930, the Met picture was believed to be an original by Holbein. The Met version belonged to the Duke of Buckingham at Stowe and was later in the collections of H. Rodd, Thomas and Edward Frewen, and W. H. Vanderbilt [Rowlands, John. "Holbein: The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger." Oxford: Phaidon, 1985, p. 133]. These two pictures are often confused in the literature.

This painting is commonly believed to be the companion portrait to "Sir Henry Guildford" now at Windsor Castle.

[1] In the 1590 inventory of the Lumley collection, there is a picture described as, "Of the La: Guilfourd wife to Sir Henry Guilfourd Coumptroller, drawne by Haunce Holbyn." This is most likely the Saint Louis Art Museum's picture although before the Museum picture reappeared, it was often assumed that this referred to the copy at the Met [Cust, Sir Lionel. "The Lumley Inventories." "Walpole Society." 6 (1917-1918)].

John Lumley was married to Jane FitzAlan (d.1577), daughter of 12th Earl of Arundel, Henry FitzAlan Arundel (1512-80). The Earl of Arundel had purchased Henry VIII's Nonsuch Palace from Queen Mary in 1556 and Lumley inherited it in 1580. It is possible that this picture was part of the FitzAlan collection inherited by John Lumley [Hervey, Mary F. S. "The Life, Correspondence, & Collections of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel." Cambridge: 1921, p. 52-59].

[2] According to Mary Hervey's book, the picture was with the contents of Tower Hill, the residence of Lord Lumley, which was inherited by Lord Lumley's second wife, Elizabeth Darcy. Elizabeth Darcy died in 1617 and her will specified that all her pictures were to go to her brother, Thomas, Lord Darcy, and then to his daughter, Elizabeth, Lady Savage, after his death. Lord Darcy died in 1639, at which time the paintings would have passed on to his daughter [Hervey, p. 57]. There is no conclusive evidence that this picture actually took this route. There is evidence that Lord Darcy allowed at least some pictures to be given to Lord Arundel [Howarth, David. "Lord Arundel and his Circle." New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985, p. 69].

[3] Thomas Howard's 1641 will contains an inventory of his collection. There is a reference to "Two pictures, the one a yong Man at large, leaning upon his sword, the other of a Girle" [Cust, Lionel. "Notes on the Collection Formed by Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel." "Burlington Magazine." 20 no. 104 (November 1911), p. 98]. It is possible that this refers to the SLAM picture and its companion. Listed in the "Inventory of pictures, etc., in the possession of Alethea, Countess of Arundel, at the time of her death at Amsterdam in 1654" along with its companion portrait of Sir Henry Guildford [Cox, Mary L. "Inventory of the Arundel Collection." "Burlington Magazine." 19 no. 102 (September 1911): p. 323]. This inventory was drawn up in the process of litigation over the Countess's will.

[4] William Howard was the son of Thomas Howard, the 14th Earl of Arundel. According to Oliver Miller, the picture and its companion were probably inherited by William Howard and passed to his grandson, William, Earl of Stafford [Miller, Oliver. "The Tudor, Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the Collection of her Majesty the Queen." London: Phaidon, 1963, p. 58].

[5] The picture and its companion were apparently seen in 1726 at the residence of William Stafford-Howard, Tart Hall [Miller, p. 58]. The Getty Provenance of Paintings has the picture remaining in the Stafford-Howard family until shortly before it reappeared with the Duke of Northumberland. This is a strong possibility.

[6] In his "Anecdotes," Horace Walpole mentions seeing the picture at Northumberland House in 1761 [Walpole, Horace. "Anecdotes of Painting in England." London: Swan Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co., 1888, p. 80-82]. Martyn located the picture in the same collection in a 1766 publication [Martyn, Thomas. "The English Connoisseur." London: Printed for L. Davis and C. Reymers, 1766, p. 191].

[7] According to the auction catalog from a sale at Sotheby's, May 14, 1930, the picture was the property of the late George Folliott of Vicar's Cross Cheshire and was sold by the "joint direction of his daughter, Mrs. E. I. E. Folingsby Walker, the present tenant for life, and her son, James Folliott Folingsby, Esq., the absolute owner in reversion" ["Catalogue of Valuable Pictures by Old Masters of the Italian, Dutch and German Schools." Sotheby & Co., London, May 14, 1930, lot no. 60]. According to an undated letter from the dealer Jacob M. Heimann, the picture passed directly from Northumberland to Folliott but whether by purchase or inheritance could not be established [SLAM document files].

[8] See note [7].

[9] See note [7].

[10] See note [7]. According to Art Prices Current [Getty Provenance of Paintings]. The picture was sold as Flemish School, "Portrait of Dame Elizabeth Bullen." The annotated catalog at the Getty Research Institute has "Bull" as the buyer.

[11] Joint account between Colnaghi's and Matthiesen Gallery, according to Colnaghi's private ledgers cited by the Getty Provenance of Paintings.

[12] According to the Getty Provenance of Paintings, Heimann was acting as the agent for Matthiesen and Colnaghi's. This appears to be based on an old Museum accession record but no other confirmation of this information could be located [SLAM document files].

[13] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, January 7, 1943.
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