An Allegory of Passion

Object Details


An Allegory of Passion


Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/1498 - 1543)




about 1532 - 1536


Oil on panel


45.4 x 45.4 cm (17 7/8 x 17 7/8 in.)

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The painted roundel in the center of this diamond-shaped wood panel features a rider in classical attire on a galloping white horse. A panel of this format usually depicted a coat of arms, but here it was adopted for a personal emblem. The unbridled horse-symbolic of vigor, ambition, or passion-carries a rider whose individualized features suggest it might be a portrait. Below, a cartouche holds the Italian inscription E cosi desio me mena (And so desire carries me along) taken from Petrarch's Canzoniere, written about 1342. The patron who commissioned the panel was probably a scholar and a humanist familiar with this text.

The Allegory of Passion has a rich history of ownership. On the back of the panel is the monogram HP, which stands for Henry, Prince of Wales, the older brother of Charles I and one of the first serious art collectors in England. Richard Symonds, a British diarist, next mentioned the painting as being seen in the "Closett of the Lady Anne Mary Howard" at Arundel House in London in 1653.

- about 1612

Prince Henry (Frederick) of Wales, 1594 - 1612 (London, England), by inheritance to his younger brother, Charles, about 1612.

about 1612 -

King Charles I of England, 1600 - 1649 (London, England), possibly by exchange with Thomas Howard.

Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, 1585 - 1646 (London; Arundel Castle, Sussex, England), probably by inheritance to Henry Howard, by 1653.

by 1653 - possibly 1684

Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk, 1628 - 1684 (Arundel Castle, Sussex, England)

by 1653 - possibly 1684

and Anne Mary (Somerset) Howard, died 1682, possibly by inheritance to their son, Henry Howard, possibly 1684.

possibly 1684 -

Henry Howard, seventh duke of Norfolk, 1655 - 1701 (Arundel Castle, Sussex, England)

- 1936

Rev. E.W.M. de la Hay, died 1936 (Cerney House, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to his wife, Mrs. E.M.W. de la Hay, 1936.

1936 - 1953

Mrs. E.W.M. de la Hay (Cerney House, Gloucester, England) [sold, Hay sale, Knowles, Gloucester, 1953, to Thomas G. Burn.]

1953 - 1978

Thomas G. Burn (Rous Lench Court, Hereford and Worcester, England) [sold, Burn sale, Knowles, Gloucester, July 11, 1978, lot 281, to Anthony Haynes.]

1978 - 1979

Anthony Haynes (Coventry, West Midlands, England) [sold, Haynes sale, Christie's, London, February 9, 1979, lot 24, to Colnaghi, David Carritt, Ltd., Anthony Speelman, and William P. Garred.]

1979 - 1980

Colnaghi (London, England)

1979 - 1980

and David Carritt, Ltd. (London, England)

1979 - 1980

and Anthony Speelman (London, England)

1979 - 1980

and Dr. William P. Garred (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980.

The Earl and Countess of Arundel: Renaissance Collectors (May 2, 1995 to October 1, 1995) (34 items)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), May 2 to October 1, 1995
La Beaute (May 25 to October 1, 2000) (34 items)
  • Palais du Papes, (Avignon), May 25 to October 1, 2000
Holbein in England (September 28, 2006 to January 7, 2007) (34 items)
  • Tate Britain, (London), September 28, 2006 to January 7, 2007
Related Media
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    Audio: An Allegory of Passion (Family; Animals)