Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Question from Kerry - Portrait of Sir Francis Bryan

I am a descendant of Sir Francis Bryan (1490-1550), boy-companion and courtier to Henry VIII. Sir Francis was the man who petitioned the Pope for Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and he was also a cousin of Anne Boleyn. Bryan was a poet, author, cypherer, diplomat, soldier, and the closest confidante of the King. I am seeking a portrait of Sir Francis Bryan. He was painted by the famous court painter Hans Holbein, but the portrait has never been found. Does anyone have any idea where it may repose? He is distinguished by wearing an eye-patch, one eye having been put out in a jousting match.


Anonymous PhD Historian said...

If Hans Holbein painted a portrait of Francis Bryan and that portrait still exists, it would be listed in the modern catalogue raisonne (inventory of works) for Holbein. Have you checked a local library for the lastest version of the Holbein catalogue? Holbein is such a well known artist and has been so thoroughly researched that it seems very unlikely that a painting known to be by him would not be listed in major art history references. I did check a number of online academic art history databases not accessible to the general public and found no reference to any portrait of Francis Bryan, whether by Holbein or someone else. Indeed, Susan Brigden states in her article on Bryan in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography that no portrait of Sir Francis survives. Perhaps the story that Sir Francis was painted by Holbein is simply another example of the multitude of people supposedly painted by the master who were in fact never portrayed at all?

January 10, 2007 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a descendant of Sir Francis Bryan. My ancestor, Winifred Bryan
Cole, wrote a book about the Bryan/
Cole family. He states in his book that Sir Francis did not want a portrait because of his eyeloss. There is a portrait of his brother-in-law, Sir Nicholas Carew by Holbein. He was married to Sir Francis' sister. I believe I saw the portrait at Windsor Castle.

January 27, 2007 3:09 PM  
Anonymous spudmama said...

wow, i never knew there were so many of us descendents of sir francis still hanging around. my grandmother was minnie russel bryan, descendant of william bryan and mary boon of bryan station, kentucky.

March 31, 2009 1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is also a decendant of Sir Frances Bryan and I am a decendant of Mary Tudor of Scotland. Our whole family is of noble blood as they say. I have not seen any portrait of Sir Frances Bryan but did see the one at Windsor Castle of his brother-in-law when I was there, but this has been over 10 years ago. I have researched my family all the way back to 1200 in England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland and have found many Noble families from which my family has decended from.

April 15, 2009 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have a copy of the Bryan/Cole history.
I have looked for modern/historical pictures of a family crest, anyone have one?

September 02, 2009 6:37 PM  

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