Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites

Catherine of Aragon by Joannes Corvus

Catherine aragon

Catherine of Aragon by Joannes Corvus

“Catherine of Aragon” depicts the first wife of King Henry VIII. The daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Catherine was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne. They married in 1501, but Arthur died five months later. Catherine subsequently married Arthur’s younger brother,  King Henry VIII, in 1509.

By 1525, Henry VIII was dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine who had produced no surviving sons. He sought to have their wedding annulled and when Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage; Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. In 1533 their marriage was declared invalid on the judgement of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. Catherine refused to accept this outcome and was banished from court. She lived out the rest of her life at Kimbolton Castle and died there in 1536.

The artist is unknown, but the painting has been attributed to Johannes Corvus, a Flemish portrait painter and native of Bruges, who came to England and Latinised his name to Jan Rave. Several other English painting of this period has been attributed to him.

Catherine of Aragon

  • Title:              Catherine of Aragon
  • Artist:            Attributed to Johannes Corvus
  • Date:             Early 18th century
  • Medium:       Oil on panel
  • Dimensions:  55.9 × 44.5 cm (22 × 17.5 in)
  • Museum:       National Portrait Gallery, London

Joannes Corvus

  • Name:         Joannes Corvus or Johannes Corvu
  • Born:           1512
  • Died:           1544
  • Nationality:  Flemish


“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
– William Shakespeare


Photo Credit: 1)  By It may be by a painter called John Taylor who was an important member of the Painter-Stainers’ Company.[1] (Official gallery link) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons