Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

Royal masterpiece heading to Hull next week

A masterpiece from the Royal Collection arrives at Ferens Art Gallery next week.

The portrait of Sir Thomas More, c.1526-7,  by Hans Holbein the Younger will be displayed at the Hull art gallery from Saturday 23 March until Sunday 23 June.

Hans Holbein was born in Augsburg, Germany, trained in Basel, Switzerland and spent a total of thirteen years in England, in 1526-8 and 1532-43. The major work of Holbein’s first period in England was a portrait of the family of Sir Thomas More. In Holbein’s latter period he became the most important artist at the court of Henry VIII, during which time Henry VIII visited Hull twice.

The portrait drawing of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), is likely connected to a single oil portrait of the sitter in the Frick Collection, New York. The drawing shows his head and shoulders facing three-quarters to the right; he wears a hat and fur collar. The drawing has been pricked for transfer. Inscribed in an eighteenth-century hand at upper left: Tho: Moor Ld Chancelour.

Holbein’s sketch gives a fascinating insight into the practices that underpinned his work. A focused display of preparatory studies and final artworks from the Ferens Art Gallery’s permanent collection will be highlighted alongside Holbein’s masterpiece. Holbein’s Sir Thomas More portrait marks the third of five exceptional works of art from the Royal Collection to go on display at the Ferens Art Gallery between 2017 and 2021, as part of Masterpieces in Focus from the Royal Collection.

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited, said: “It is fantastic that the Gallery continues its ambitious exhibitions programme in partnership with the Royal Collection Trust.

“This unique exhibition is a great opportunity to highlight areas of our museum collection alongside the Holbein the Younger masterpiece. It is fantastic that visitors will have the opportunity to see these works together in Hull for the very first time.”

There is a programme of talks and events to the complement the exhibition. To find out more about these events, visit

This free exhibition will run from 23 March – 23 June in Gallery 3.

The Gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4.30pm, and Sunday, 11am – 4pm.

The Royal Courts of Justice. Picture: Elliott Brown