Press Release 25 November 2004

Compton Verney purchases major portrait of Edward VI

>Portrait of King Edward VI, attributed to William Scrots, was bought by the Peter Moores Foundation for Compton Verney today for the sum of £700,000. It was bought at a Sothebyís sale dedicated exclusively to important British paintings 1500-1850. Portrait of King Edward VI is amongst the most significant sixteenth-century paintings ever to have come on the market.

King Edward VI was the son of Henry VIIIís third wife, Jane Seymour. Edward became King at the age of only nine in 1547 and died of consumption at the age of fifteen. Due to his short reign portraits of him are extremely rare. This painting is attributed to the studio of William Scrots (fl.1537-1553), a Flemish painter who came to England in the 1540s and soon after became the Kingís painter. Most of the best-known portraits of Edward have been attributed to William Scrots.

This unique panel portrait is unusual in that it portrays the young King in profile, amidst layers of detailed iconography. The Latin inscription beneath the portrait speaks of Phoebus, the sun, and Clytia, the sunflower, both of whom feature in Ovidís Metamorphoses. Ovid relates how Apollo turned the Princess Clytia into a sunflower as punishment for exposing his romance with her sister Leucothea. However, the sunflower does not turn towards the sun, but instead faces Edward, signifying his power and influence.

Portrait of Edward VI will join Compton Verneyís growing collection of British Portraits as part of an ongoing purchasing programme for this important new art gallery, which opened to the public in March 2004.

For further information and images contact: Ina Cole, Communications Manager, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ. Tel: 01926 645540 Email: ina.cole@comptonverney.org.uk