The King

Holbein Proofs, King
Francis 1. of France
Francis 1. of France
Holbein's illustrations from The Old Testament: King Ahasuerus
Holbein's Bible-illiustration

D eath comes to the king disguised as a cupbearer, pouring up the liquids. There's general agreement that the king is a portrait of Francis 1st of France (picture to the left), even though Francis (François) lived 1494-1547 and thus was alive — both when Holbein designed the woodcuts in the 1520'ies, and when the Trechsel Brothers published them in 1538.

The king is sitting under a canopy, and the fabric behind him is decorated with woven fleur-de-lis. Holbein used the same design when he drew King Ahasuerus from the Book of Esther in The Old Testament.

Variations: Birckmann gives the king new clothes and hat — and gives the standing waiter two double plates in his hand.
Valvasor and Deuchar copy Birckmann's clothes and hat, but Deuchar gives the waiter a plate with a decanter.
Straub puts a turban on the king.

Various Artists

Holbein Proofs (1526)
Holbein Proofs 1526: King
Holbein (1538)
Holbein 1538: King
Vogtherr (1544)
Vogtherr 1544: King
Birckmann (1555)
Birckmann 1555: King
Juan de Icíar (1555)
Juan de Icíar 1555: King
Straub (1581)
Straub 1581: King
Chytraeus (1590)
Chytraeus 1590: King
Glissenti (1596)
Glissenti 1596: King
Donaueschingen (1600)
Donaueschingen 1600: King
Kieser (1617)
Kieser 1617: King
Valvasor (1682)
Valvasor 1682: King
Mechel (1780)
Mechel 1780: King
Deuchar (1788)
Deuchar 1788: King
Bewick (1789)
Bewick 1789: King
Anderson (1810)
Anderson 1810: King
Bechstein (1831)
Bechstein 1831: King
Schlotthauer (1832)
Schlotthauer 1832: King
Douce (1833)
Douce 1833: King
Helmuth (1836)
Helmuth 1836: King
Curmer (1858)
Curmer 1858: King
Deuchar (1887)
Deuchar 1887: King