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Panel Painting Saxon King (Athelstan)

Object number


Production date

Circa 1515

Production place



Oil Paint


Oil on panel


Height: 1585mm
Width: 760mm


Burlington House - (on display)


Inscription content

[A]thelstanus edwardi regis filius regnavit anno do[mi]ni [DCCCCXXIV]
[n]at[us] fuit sanctus dunstanus: Hic reges wallensiu[m & ] sco[ttorum]
[f]idem recepit. Quos t[amen] R[ex] sub se regnare constituit dice[ns]


Reference (free text)

David Gaimster, Sarah McCarthy, and Bernard Nurse, eds., Making History, Antiquaries in Britain, 1707-2007 (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2007), p. 80, no. 47.1.Illustration, p. 80.

Reference (free text)

Copy of report in Object History File LDSAL 509.
    Oil of oak panel painting of King Athelstan depicted 'in majesty', seated on a throne, crowned, and holding a scepter in his left hand and an orb in his right. A Latin inscription appears beneath the figure of Athelstan. 1 of 6 fragments.
    This early-sixteenth century (c 1515) oil painting on oak panel shows the crowned King Athelstan, seated on a throne with orb and sceptre in hand. The inscription beneath makes it clear that the subject of these six fragments of painted panelling is the unification in AD 926/7 of the lesser kingdoms of Britain under Athelstan (reigned AD 925–40). In AD 924/5 King Edward died, and his son, Athelstan, was chosen king by the Mercians. In AD 926/7, Athelstan succeeded to the throne of Northumbria and brought under his rule ‘all the kings who were in this island: first Hywel, king of the West Welsh and Constantine, king of the Scots, and Owain king of the people of Gwent, and Aldred son of Eadwulf from Bamburgh. And they established peace with oaths in the place which is called Eamont [Cumbria] on 12 July’.

    The six panels are constructed from thirteen oak boards. The minimum height of the composition is 1.75m and the minimum width, allowing for the eight figures that either survive in partial form or that were recorded by Stothard is 6.44m. The panels were thus once part of a large and impressive scheme.