This contemporary Hans Holbein the Younger portrait of a woman in black (Toledo Museum of Art), was identified by Sir Lionel Cust in 1909 as Henry VIIIs fifth Queen, Kathryn Howard. However, the identification of the portrait as Kathryn Howard is widely but not universally discounted.
The text on the portrait, ETATIS SVA 21, indicates that the sitter was 21 years old, an age Kathryn Howard never reached. Herbert Norris notes that the sitter is wearing a sleeve which follows a style set by Anne of Cleves, which would date the portrait to after January 1540, when Anne's marriage to Henry VIII took place.
The original Holbein is dated to 1535–1540, but the National Portrait Gallery dates their copy to the late 1600s. This would seem to indicate a sitter who was still a connection to be commemorated over a century later (unlike Kathryn). Historians Antonia Fraser and Derek Wilson believe that the portrait is far more likely to depict Jane Seymour's sister Elizabeth, the widow of Sir Anthony Ughtred, on the grounds that the lady bears a resemblance to Jane, especially around the nose and chin, and wears widow's black. Black clothing, however, was expensive, and did not necessarily signify mourning: it was an indication of wealth and status, particularly amongst the Protestant nobility who preferred the more sombre style of clothing to the gaudy peacock designs favoured by Catholics.
Derek Wilson observed that "In August 1537, Thomas Cromwell succeeded in marrying his son, Gregory, to Elizabeth Seymour", the queen's younger sister. He was therefore related by marriage to the king, "an event worth recording for posterity, by a portrait of his daughter-in-law." The painting was in the possession of the Cromwell family for centuries, further fuelling the theory that the sitter is Elizabeth Seymour.
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