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Case study

Conserving Holbein's 'Hans of Antwerp'

A major two-year project studied this painting

Conservator working on the fave of Hans of Antwerp with a brush

A major, two year conservation project by Royal Collection Trust was undertaken into this portrait, A Merchant of the German Steelyard: Hans of Antwerp, by Holbein. This case study explores how the portrait was brought back to life, giving us a clearer idea of what it looked like when Holbein first painted it, and revealing previously lost detail which provide clues to who 'Hans of Antwerp' really was.

Watch the short film below, or read on to find out more.


Objects featured in this case study

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Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543)
A Merchant of the German Steelyard: 'Hans of Antwerp' after Sep 1532
  • King's Closet, Windsor Castle
RCIN 404443

Holbein's portrait depicts the sitter, who is possibly a merchant, in an expensive but understated fur-lined gown and doublet. He is at work, surrounded by coins, a key and his seal, and is in the act of cutting the string of a letter he has just received – but he has momentarily paused. His quill pen rests on a letter he has just begun. Recent...

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