Henry VII on his deathbed

Description

Though he may not have been present, the Garter King of Arms, Sir Thomas Wriothesley (d. 1534), wrote a detailed account of the proceedings surrounding the death of Henry VII and drew this picture of the King on his deathbed. 

The dying King is in his Privy Chamber, surrounded by his most intimate courtiers and household (clockwise round the bed): Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester (d. 1528); George, Lord Hastings (d. 1544); Richard Weston, Esquire of the Body (a household officer in constant attendance on the king) and Groom of the Privy Chamber (d. 1541); Richard Clement, Groom of the Privy Chamber (d. 1538); Matthew Baker (or Basquer), Esquire of the Body (d. 1513); John Sharpe and William Tyler, Gentlemen Ushers; Hugh Denys, Esquire of the Body; and William Fitzwilliam, Gentleman Usher (d. 1542), who holds a staff of office and closes the King’s eyes. 

Also present are two tonsured clerics and three physicians holding urine bottles. It was possible to keep Henry’s death a secret, as he was out of the public eye, and it was Weston who is described by Wriothesley as keeping up the pretence that the old King was still alive until 23 April.

Full title:
Henry VII on his deathbed
Format:
Illuminated manuscript
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 45131, f. 54

Full catalogue details

Related articles

The social structure in Elizabethan England

Article by:
Liza Picard
Themes:
Shakespeare’s life and world, Elizabethan England

Liza Picard describes how, between the Queen at the top and the beggars at the bottom, there was jockeying for position in the different levels of Elizabethan society.

Related collection items