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Henry VIII & the Barber Surgeons; Royal College of Surgeons

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This large-scale work was commissioned to commemorate the grant of a royal charter to the Company of Barbers and the Guild of Surgeons on their merger in 1540. Presumably at the request of his clients, Holbein based the design on that of the miniatures painted on Tudor charters of privileges. Henry did not sit for this last of Holbein's portraits of him. Working from an existing sketch, Holbein painted him not so much as a living person but as an icon. The members of the company, however, were painted as individuals. The figures of Sir William Butts and the doctor John Chambers are closely related to portraits of them by Holbein