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Hamilton Kerr Institute

Fitzwilliam Museum

Recently, the HKI said goodbye to a painting that has spent the past five years in our studios. The St John's College full-size portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort at Prayer sat stoically on an easel throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, waiting patiently to have many campaigns of varnish and overpainting removed to reveal her original, early 16t century splendour. Documentary evidence in the college archives published in 2019 has shown that the portrait was painted in 1510-12, immediately after Lady Margaret's death, by the little-known painter Meynnart Wewyck. Wewyck appears to have been the portrait painter of choice to the first of the Tudor kings, Henry VII, and his oeuvre is currently under investigation by the HKI, helped by technical evidence revealed during the conservation work on Margaret Beaufort. The extensive project took over 1500 hours, spent by staff, students and post-graduate conservation interns, and the fully restored portrait is now on display in the newly reopened National Portrait Gallery alongside portraits of her son and grandson, where it can be enjoyed by the public for the next three years. 

Read more about the story and the work completed at the HKI: