This small double portrait was produced on Holbein’s first journey to England. It shows the notary Thomas Godsalve from Norwich with his son John. Both are represented attentively following an event unseen by the viewer. As a result of the positon of their heads and their gazes, the younger seems to be subordinated to the older and more experienced man. John Godsalve later had a successful career at the English court.


  • Title: Thomas Godsalve and his son Sir John
  • Creator: Hans Holbein the Younger
  • Date Created: 1528
  • Physical Dimensions: 35 × 36 cm
  • Technique and Material: Oil on oak
  • Provenance: Acquired in Paris in 1751 via Le Leu, first listed in the inventory in 1754
  • Museum: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
  • Inv.-No.: 1889
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-845318
  • External Link: http://www.skd.museum/de/museen-institutionen/zwinger-mit-semperbau/gemaeldegalerie-alte-meister/
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister / Hans-Peter Klut; Text © Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, A Cooperation of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nov 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017, Munich: Prestel, 2016; cat. no. 105 / Roland Enke
  • Catalogue: https://prestelpublishing.randomhouse.de/book/Renaissance-and-Reformation/Stephanie-Buck/Prestel-com/e504919.rhd
  • Artist Dates: c. 1497–98 Augsburg–1543 London
  • Artist Biography: The artist, who presumably trained with his father, Hans Holbein the Elder, resided in Basel from 1515, where he initially worked primarily as a façade painter. In 1526 Holbein traveled to London with help from Erasmus of Rotterdam. When he returned to Basel in 1529, the situation for commissions had changed so radically as a result of the Reformation that Holbein left for England again in 1532 and settled there permanently. There he portrayed German merchants, the upper classes of London, and ultimately became court painter to King Henry VIII. Holbein’s distantly elegant portraits were a high point of the German portraiture of the Renaissance and set the standard for the genre.

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