Illustrating the Tudors

The Tudors are the base of modern-day adaptations for drama, literature and even romance. Whether you believe Henry VIII was a tyrant or a hopeless romantic, the matter of the fact is the lives of him and his fellow Tudor courtiers will always generate intrigue in the modern world. People today still argue over who did what, who said what and what 'really happened'. (Really, we weren't there, we don't know, we just have to go by what other people at the time said.)

But family dramas and romances of Tudors aside, they remain prominent figures in today's world largely due to their imposing and impressive famous portraits. Whenever I go to the National Portrait Gallery or visit stately homes like Hampton Court Palace, I am always utterly entranced by images of figures such as Elizabeth I or Hans Holbein's Henry VIII paintings. They're rich and bold, drowned in jewels and luxurious fabrics. Everything about them screams 'Tudor era Monarchy'.

I chose to start drawing some of these famous historical figures of the Tudor era after catching up on a history documentary on the reformation of the church in England, which indicated the use of images of monarchs as propaganda. Even though these images I have illustrated in a modern style are all different in appearances, the original paintings actually hold similar likeness to the style of the time.

I noted the warm red tones, with heavy gold hues which create a rich image. They're heavy and dark images, something that I wanted to strip back in my illustrations of these notable characters. Henry VIII was the first English king to employ artists to paint portraits of the royal family. Henry was not very impressed with English artists and therefore recruited them from Europe. The most important of these was the German artist, Hans Holbein, who was appointed in 1536 and painted the famous portrait of Henry VIII's stance and the Anne of Cleves pre-marriage portrait.

These illustrations of the Tudors are available to purchase in my shop as a variety of prints, phone cases, t-shirts and much more.


Designer. Illustrator. Animator. 

© 2020 Corah Norton Design