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How our Henry VIII portrait inspired ‘Wolf Hall’ costumes

28 January 2015 by Felicity

Image of The Walker Art Gallery's Henry VIII portrait

The Walker Art Gallery’s Henry VIII portrait

The Walker Art Gallery’s Henry VIII portrait is one of the most recognisable paintings in our collection. It is derived from the Whitehall Mural, painted by Hans Holbein in 1537.

But did you know that the portrait was used as inspiration for the costumes in BBC drama series, ‘Wolf Hall’?

Clare Vyse, Assistant Costume Designer for the program, tells us how portraits of the king proved to be an invaluable resource when designing his costumes:

“We used all the available portraiture when researching King Henry’s clothes for Wolf Hall, but Holbein’s paintings were particularly influential because his work is so clear and detailed – they are such a valuable resource.

The Henry in our story is younger and slimmer than the one in this portrait, but in later episodes he wears an outfit that is based on this very painting. Read more…



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.