Portrait of Sir Nicholas Carew by Hans Holbein

Portrait of Sir Nicholas Carew by Hans Holbein

Sir Nicholas Carew – Quartermaster of the English King Henry VIII. He was the head of the younger branch of a very ancient family. His father Richard Carew was knighted by King Henry VIII and was the Sheriff of Surrey in 1501. Nicholas was probably born in the last decades of the fifteenth century.

In 1513 he was appointed Lieutenant of the castle of Calais, which had to be guarded. In the same year he took part in the invasion of France as part of the army of Henry VIII, and received as a gift from the king knight armor. At this time he was a squire of the king.

Sir Nicholas Carew was a favorite of Henry VIII. At the end of 1520 he was sent with important letters to Francis I and upon return a large commission was paid. In 1521, he was one of the members of the Grand Jury of the county of Surrey and brought charges against the Duke of Buckingham.

July 18, 1522 Nicholas appointed chief steward of the royal stables, as well as managing the manor Brasted in the county of Kent, which belonged to Buckingham.

He was still, apparently, in great favor with the king and in October 1537 was invited to the baptism of Prince Edward. However, the clouds were already thickening over his head.

In November 1538, the Montecchi and the Marquis of Exeter were sent to the Tower, and the following month they were convicted of high treason. In early 1539 Carew was also detained. On February 14, he was brought to trial as an adherent of the Marquis of Exeter. Sir Nicholas Carew was convicted and on March 3 was beheaded in the Tower.

The portrait depicts Sir Nicholas during the peak of his career. He is in knightly armor, clutching a spear and sword in his hands… But Hans Holbein the Younger was a heartfelt psychologist. In the front portrait there is an alarm, the figure is tense, the mouth is compressed, and in the eyes – a premonition of trouble, which will burst in 5 years.

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