What is King Henry the Eighth holding in his hand in this painting?

Could someone please tell me what Henry VIII is holding in his right hand in this painting?

It’s probably the most famous depiction of him. Yet I have never heard anyone talk about that thing in his hand.

Is it a dildo? A banana? A dead eel or a piece of smoked fish?

What the heck is that thing?

His gloves.

Damn, how boring. I was hoping it would be something more strange.

It’s much more obvious that it’s a pair of gloves in this painting.

Dear Tudor England,
Your Henry VIII is ugly.
Showtime England

OK, now I want to ask, why did Henry VIII have (at least) two pictures painted of himself holding his gloves? Was holding gloves a big thing in Tudor times?

Just noticed this text ad under this thread:

Henry might not be their best bet.

Judging by his suit of armor, I think he would probably be able to satisfy them and then some.

Edward IV, Christopher Walken lookalike and psychedelic shirt aficionado was a notorious womanizer; he had no fewer than seven illegitimate children. (He also used to eat so much that he would throw up in order to keep eating.)

If noses are any indication, Francis I of France was probably a big hit with the ladies.

Carlos II of Spain, on the other hand, couldn’t even get it up. Deformed and retarded, he was the end result of generations of Hapsburg inbreeding.

Note that Edward IV was Henry VIII’s grandfather.

Pfft. Effeminate wanker. Henry I had as many as 35 bastards ( wikipedia wusses out at 20-25, but other sources list more ). “John the Babymaker” ( and isn’t that the absolute best nickname of all time ) had 63. Finally Augustus the Strong may have numbered his progeny in the hundreds.

Compared to these mighty sperm banks, Edward IV must perforce weep from inadequacy :p.


A real progressive!

Is it the poofy shirt or does Henry have some really broad shoulders?

There may be some padding (due to fabric and/or artistic licence). But many of the contemporary commentators noted the impressive physique of Henry, when he was in his prime.

Lest they get their head chopped off!

Yes, holding your gloves became a standard detail in Renaissance/Baroque portraiture. Status symbol/sign of refinement.

The digrams at the bottom of this article certainly show his growth.

A friend of mine had a large format poster poster of his last suit of armour. It was quite impressive. I would like to see one that has his various suits in order showing the progress.

So he has his glove in one hand and his dirk in the other?

Are we talking about Michael Jackson?

No, he wasn’t. Henry VIII’s grandfather was Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond. Edward IV was the older brother of Richard III, who Henry VIII’s father, Henry Tudor (later VII), deposed at the Battle of Bosworth. Edward IV had no (legitimate) grandchildren due to his brother (probably) offing his only two legitimate sons (the Princes in the Tower and all that jazz).

The Tudor claim to the throne derived from John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III, and Henry VIII’s great-great-great-grandfather.


Kid gloves were considered the acme of luxury.

Everyone has two grandfathers, right? Paternal and maternal.

Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV. Her second son by Henry VII was Henry, Duke of York, who succeeded to the throne as Henry VIII.