Hidden portrait of Henry VIII's only son, Edward VI, emerges in painting of boy king who died at 15

By Culture24 Reporter | 05 November 2015

Portrait of Tudor monarch crowned at nine years old goes on display at Florence Nightingale Museum

An image of a painting of a boy in royal clothing - edward the sixth, henry the eighth's only son
This portrait of Edward VI was thought to be lost© Colin White, courtesy Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
A previously unknown portrait of Henry VIII’s only legitimate son, Edward VI, revealed by tree ring-dating to have been created shortly after the king’s death at the age of 15, has been discovered in the art collection of London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

Tests on the delicate portrait of Edward, who was crowned at the age of nine in 1547, show it could have been made not long after the 1553 Reformation, when the boy monarch re-established St Thomas’ Hospital.

Derived from an official full-length portrait by William Scrotts, it has gone on show at the Florence Nightingale Museum alongside other precious and fragile items from the collection, including a gold memorial ring made for Thomas Guy’s funeral, 18th century silverware and a series of curious short films from the 1950s commissioned by the Ministry of Health to train physiotherapists.

Artworks by Dame Elizabeth Frink, Albert Irvin, Patrick Caulfield and Robert Motherwell will also be on display.

An image of a painting of a boy in royal clothing - edward the sixth, henry the eighth's only son
The work has been restored since being found in the hospital's fine art collection© Colin White, courtesy Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
A close-up image of a detail of a boy in royal clothing - edward the sixth, henry the eighth's only son
© Colin White, courtesy Guy's and St Thomas' Charity

  • Hidden Treasures from the Hospital Vaults: The Remarkable Art Collection of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity is at the Florence Nightingale Museum from November 27 2015 – March 27 2016.
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Three places to see royal collections at

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey
With 500 years worth of history to explore, Hampton Court Palace has been divided into a series of historical routes which help to explain how the palace was used when it was occupied by the monarch. There are also two exhibitions: the 'Introductory Exhibition' about the history of the building, and the 'Gardens Exhibition' about the development of the gardens.

Windsor Castle, Berkshire
As part of the visitor route at Windsor Castle, The Drawings Gallery shows changing exhibitions of material from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Special themed displays are shown alongside a selection of treasures, including drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse and The Queen's Gallery, Edinburgh
The Royal Apartments reflect the changing tastes of successive monarchs and are renowned for their fine plasterwork ceilings and magnificent furnishings, particularly the unrivalled collection of Brussels tapestries. One of the most famous rooms in the Palace is the Great Gallery, hung with Jacob de Wet's portraits of the real and legendary kings of Scotland.
Latest comment: >Make a comment
Have to agree - this article is really let down by the poor background research. Henry had a an earlier illegitimate son who was given the title Duke of Richmond.
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