Eighteen year old Henry VIII of England, after his coronation in 1509, attributed to Meynnart  Wewyck. ( circa 1502 - 1525)  Denver Museum. Tudor England Images. - Commons.


 The Art of the portrait painting in miniature started on the XVI century, arriving to the English Court in the Tudor era, during the reign of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, adding an aura of delightfulness and fascination that still stands to our days.






Portrait of a young Catherine of Aragon, early 16th century, artist Michael Sittow.- Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna , Bilddatenbank.- Commons.



Henry VIII King of England, Francis I King of France, and Charles I King of Spain who was also the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, (elected following his grandfather Emperor Maximilian's death, in 1519), were friends, enemies, allies and above all rivals.





Emperor Charles V,( also known as Don Carlos I of Spain)ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, date of painting 1550.  Kunsthistorisches Museum. -  Commons.


The French King Francis I decided to declare war against the Emperor Charles V  in view to conquer some Italian territories to add to the French Crown, against his mother wishes.






Jean Clouet; portrait of Francis I, King of France  (1494-1547) oil on panel, circa 1530. Louvre Museum - Oakenchips own work. - Commons .


Mme. Louise of Savoy sent several letters to her son advising and begging him not to fight against the Emperor, he ignored her letters, and with his army crossed the Alps on the 25th October 1524.






Portrait of Louise of Savoy mother of Francis I. School of Jean Clouet. File Bember Foundation, Toulouse.- Didier Descovens own work. -  Commons.


On the 24th February of 1525 during the violent Battle of Pavia, Italy, more than 8.000 soldiers died,  the French king was wounded and put in prison, first in Italy and then he was taken to Madrid, Spain, and by orders of the Emperor he was imprisoned in one of the Alcazar towers.




The Battle of Pavia in an Engraved Rock Cristal Cameo Relief commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito de Medici , by Giovanni Bernardi , Rome c. 1531, Walters Art Museum .- Commons.


From prison Francis wrote  a letter to his mother saying "from all, I have only left my honour, and my life, this is safe". Francis also wrote to Charles V  hoping to get his freedom back in exchange for a cash ransom,  but the Emperor did not reply.




The Battle of Pavia " Apprehension of King Francis I of France" by Juan de la Corte. - Carlos Enrile-own work. -  Commons.


Dejected and heart-broken King Francis became very ill, rumours  were circulating in France that the king was dead. His sister Marguerite  Duchess of Alencon rushed to his side, Francis had high fever and did not speak ,or recognise anyone, after being ill for nearly a month, he eventually recovered.






Portrait of Marguerite d'Angouleme, (1492-1549)  by Jean Clouet, oil on panel 59.8 x 51.4 cm. Walker Art Gallery (1)  - Commons

Francis was only two years old when his father died, her mother was nineteen  and brought up the children on her own,  the three were  very close, it was said that they had three bodies and only one heart.





Portrait of Francis I King of France ( c. 1532-1533) by Joos van Cleve , Philadelphia Museum of Art. - Google Cultural Institute. -  Commons.


Mme. Louise was the Regent of France,( while his son was in prison), she  wrote persuasive and warm-hearted letters to Charles V, she also wrote to Pope Clement VII, and others. There was a lot of negotiations going on behind closed doors.






"Madame the Regent"  a 16th century anonymous drawing of Louise of Savoy, medium black chalk and sanguine. Biblioteque National de France  (1)-fol-BnF Banque d'images.- Commons





Portrait of Pope Clement VII, by Sebastiano de Piombo, oil on canvas 145 x 100 cm - Collection FARNESE 1526- Capodimonte Museum (INV Q147) -  Commons.


 The King of England Henry VIII,  who had at the time an alliance with the Emperor Charles V, also received a letter from Louise of Savoy asking for help, the letter arrived together with a present, and a confidential suggestion of a possible guarantee, which could perhaps  satisfy Charles V.









Emperor Charles V, oil painting by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz. (after Titian)- collection The Prado Museum . - English Wiki.


The Emperor Charles V and  also King Charles I of Spain, was the son of Philip the Handsome and Joanne of Castile, Joanne was the sister of Catherine of Aragon so the Emperor was the English King's nephew. 






Portrait of Philip the Handsome, 16th century. Anonymous , oil on panel 34.2x22.8 cm. Collection Noordbrabants Museum . Source www.rijksmuseum nl -  Commons.







Portrait of Joanna of Castile, artist Master of the legend of the Magdalene , circa 1495-1496 -oil painting- 36x24.5 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Bilddatenbank.- Commons

At the beginning  Francis I refused to sign any treaty. On the 14th of January 1526 after some negotiation which included the King's Mother, an agreement was reached. The Madrid treaty was signed  by both Charles V and Francis I.







Francis I, author Jean du Tillet-Anthology of the French kings- National Library of France-http://mandragore - Commons.


The king was to became a free man with the condition that he would return some of the conquered territories, he would marry the Emperor's sister Eleanor of Austria, and his two elders sons, the Dauphine Francois and Henri Duke of Orleans , would remain under the protection of the Emperor as a guaranty that the king would honour the treaty.






Portrait of Eleanor of Austria by Joos van Cleve, 35,5 x29,5 cm.-Kunsthistorisches Museum, Venna. Commons.


Towards November or December of the year 1526, two golden locks housing the miniatures portraits of the two eldest sons of  King Francis I of France, arrived  at the English Court.






Hans Holbeing the Younger, portrait of Henry VIII King of England, around 1497-1543. - Google_Art_Project. jpg. - Commons.


They were deliver by the special secretary of the French King's sister, Marguerite of Navarre.(following her husband the Duke of Alencon dead, Marguerite was now married to Henry II d'Albret king of Navarre.)





CharlesIV Duke of Alencon, XVII century drawing, author Thierry Bellange (1594-1638).  Collection Chateau de Pau. - Commons.





Henry d'Albret, king of Navarre (1517-1555) Miniature  commissioned for Henry's wife  Marguerite of Navarre, circa 1527.- Library of the Arsenal.- author unknown.- Commons.


It was a present for King Henry VIII, and arrived together with the letter (previously mentioned) of Madame the Regent of France Louise of Savoy , most  probably also sign by Marguerite of Navarre, suggesting that the two young princes could stay as the Emperor's  guarantee, in exchange for Francis's  freedom.






16th century portrait of Marguerite of Navarre, holding a small dog, oil on canvas, 31x24 cm. Attributed to Francois Clouet.- Conde Museum.- user.George2etexte.- Commons.

In March 1526 Francis  was crossing the border towards France as a free man, saying " I am king again", while the two young princes were also crossing the border towards Spain, to become hostages of Charles V.






Miniature of King Francis I, w/c on vellum, attributed to Jean Clouet. BnF Cabinet des dessins. MI1092 The Louvre Museum and Edition Hazan. - Commons.


 Once in France, the king did not honour the treaty of Madrid, claiming that he signed under duress,. The young princes that were  at the time seven and eight years old respectively, and were under the Emperor's custody, were then move to a fortress where they stay during four very hard and distressing years.






The Dauphin  Francois, son of Francis I, first half of 16th century, oil on panel 16x13 cm. Royal museum of Fine Arts Antwerp .- web gallery of art image.-Commons





Henry II of France, son of Francis I, artist Jean Clouet, ca. 1520, oil on panel, 30x23 cm.- Conde Museum. - Thierry D. Enfants-rois en peinture.avec 5 sens,12 Octobre 2009. -  Commons.


Eventually after some others territorial conflicts, on the 5th August 1529 Louise of Savoy representing her son Francis I, and Margaret of Austria representing her nephew  Charles V, (they were sisters in law) did get together and negotiated and sign the treaty of Chambray.







Portrait of Margaret of Austria by  Bernard van Orley, (first half of16th century) Royal Museum of Fine Art, Belgium . -Web Gallery of Art. - Commons.


In this treaty - also known as "Les Dames Paix", ( The Ladies Peace) - both King Francis and the Emperor Charles V renounced some of the conquered territories. The French King would also marry the Emperor's sister, and pay the sum of 1.200.000  gold Crowns in exchange for the freedom of his two young sons.







Portrait of Emperor Charles V with a dog, (1500-1558), data 1532, oil on canvas  231x149cm, artist Jakob Seisenegger.  Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Biddatenbank . Commons


It took a while to get all the money together, but eventually the money was pay.  Eleanor of Austria sister of Charles V, arrived in France to get married to the King, she arrived in the company of the two princes, now eleven and twelve





Francois III of Brittany- Dauphin of France, 16th century portrait by Corneille de Lyon. Conde Museum-Base Joconde.- Commons.


The  miniature portraits of the two French Princes that arrived at the English court in November 1526, were painted by the great Flemish painter who lived in France, Jean Clouet , ( father of the also wonderful painter and miniaturist Francois Clouet).





Portrait of Jean Clouet, attributed to Jacques Gauvain, Bronze. Musee de la Monnaie de Paris. Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts. UserMel 22,2017-12-13. - Commons.


 Jean Clouet  was the king's painter and most probably these miniature  portraits  were the first example that arrived at the British Courts.