Hans Holbein the Younger - A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling

Hans Holbein the Younger: 'A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling', 1526–8

Hans Holbein the Younger’s 'travelling' masterpiece

Hans Holbein the Younger’s ‘A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling’, a much-loved work from the National Gallery Collection, is travelling the UK in 2018–19 (starting January 12th 2018) as part of the Masterpiece Tour.

January 13, 2018, source: National Gallery London

"The Masterpiece Tour" is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible. This opportunity to bring hugely popular works to the public’s doorstep is being made possible by the generous support of Christie’s.

The New Art Gallery Walsall will exhibit this masterpiece from 12 January to 22 April 2018. Located in the West Midlands, the New Art Gallery Walsall was opened by the Queen in 2000 as one of a number of cultural projects inaugurated for the millennium. A focus for civic pride and community identity for the people of Walsall and the region, the Gallery has a permanent collection of over 3,000 works and aims to explore ways in which art galleries can contribute to people’s lives; connecting visitors with the work of the best contemporary and historic artists. After the show in Walsall, ‘A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling’ will be exhibited at the Shetland Museum & Archives (4 May – 15 July 2018) and at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery from 10 October 2018 to 6 January 2019.

Likely painted during Holbein's first brief visit to England in 1526–8, 'A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling' is most closely comparable to the portraits of those years, and the sitter's dress appears to be English in style. The sitter has not been identified with complete certainty, but the starling in the background and the pet squirrel on a chain are visual clues suggesting the sitter may have been Anne Lovell. Squirrels featured in the Lovell family coat of arms and were common pets in 16th-century England.

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