HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
(b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London)

Lady Mary Guildford

1527
Black and coloured chalk on paper, 522 x 385 mm
Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

This drawing was used for Holbein's painting of Lady Guildford. Holbein's habitual working procedure for portraiture was to employ his preparatory drawing of the sitter as a cartoon, tracing its essential features onto the grounded panel with the aid of an interleafing, carbon-coated sheet.

Unlike in the painting of Lady Mary Guildford, in this preparatory drawing her upper body and face are shown almost full frontally. However, she is looking to her right and the corners of her mouth are turned up slightly to produce an engaging expression. Except for these changes, the contours of the face in this study match exactly with those of the under-drawing of the painting. Holbein will thus have traced the outlines of the chalk drawing on to the panel. This is shown by the fact that individual lines, such as those of the nose, are strengthened on the drawing.