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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Tate displays rare More portrait
Detail from Holbein's Designs for More Family Group

A portrait of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein that has not been seen in the UK for almost 500 years goes on display at Tate Britain in London this week.

The drawing, Designs for More Family Group, features Sir Thomas with his father, wife, three daughters and son.

Having been in Switzerland since 1529, the pen-and-ink work now forms part of Tate's Holbein in England exhibition.

Hans Holbein the Younger worked under More's patronage and painted many portraits at the court of Henry VIII.

Sir Thomas was executed in 1535 for opposing the King's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn.

Reserve price

In the exhibition, running from 28 September to 7 January, portraits of Henry VIII, his third wife Jane Seymour and their son Edward are being hung together for the first time since Henry himself owned them.

Also on display are portraits of other figures who fell out of favour with the mercurial monarch - among them Catherine Howard, Sir Nicholas Carew and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.

Holbein held the position of court painter from around 1535 until his death, thought to be caused by the Plague in 1543.

His portrait of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, painted in about 1541, failed to meet its reserve price earlier this year when it was put up for auction at Sotheby's.

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19 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
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