A set of four portraits painted on metal rounds of prominent English historical figures emerging from dark backgrounds: King Henry VIII (1491-1547), Anne Boleyn (1501-1536), Lady Elizabeth Raleigh (1565-1647), and Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596). The portraits are unsigned but the hand is competent and shows the influence of the works of royal Renaissance artists Hans Holbein (1497/98-1543) and George Gower (1540-1596). Each portrait measures 26 x 1inches.
The portrait of King Henry VIII is flanked on either side by the royal emblem and the inscription "Henry Tudor Rex 1532". Henry is wearing an embroidered black doublet decorated with gems. in 1532, Henry was attaining supreme authority over the church, and Anne Boleyn was becoming a more prominent and influencing figure in Henry's life.
Anne Boleyn's portrait is inscribed "Anna Bolina 1521", the year before Henry became enamoured and began his pursuit of Anne. This work closely resembles the portrait of her on display at Hever Castle, the iconic pearled-B necklace a clear indicator of the sitter.
The portrait of Lady Raleigh shows her later in life, an older woman, wearing a stiff Elizabeth lace collar and a plume in her cap, her name, "The Lady Raleigh", added to the portrait.
Sir Francis Drake is depicted wearing blue ribboned gold doublet, the collar trimmed with lace, moustache and beard, and an impressive cavalier hat. The inscription "Sir Francis Drake 1587" may refer to the Singeing the King of Spain's Beard, the attack in April and May 1587 in the Bay of Cádiz against the Spanish naval forces, in which the English were victorious.