The Tudor Society

23 June – Levina Teerlinc and her miniatures

On this day in Tudor history, 23rd June 1576, painter and miniaturist, Levina Teerlinc, died at Stepney in London.

Teerlinc was court painter to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, and was a prolific artist. Find out more about Levina Teerlinc and her work in today's talk.

Also on this day in history, 23rd June 1509, King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon processed through the streets of London dressed in their finery in their coronation ceremony. Find out more in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1556 – Baptism of Thomas Hood, mathematician and physician, at St Leonard Eastcheap. His works included the 1590 “The Use of the Celestial Globe in Plano, Set Foorth in Two Hemispheres”, the 1592 “The Use of Both the Globes Celestiall and Terrestriall”, the 1596 “Two Mathematicall Instruments, the Crosse-Staffe and the Jacobs Staffe” and the 1598 “The Making and Use of the Geometricall Instrument called a Sector”.
  • 1559 – Death of Thomas Dockray (Docwra), ecclesiastical lawyer and Master of the Stationers' Company. He was buried in the church of St Faith's under St Paul's. Dockray acted as a lawyer for the defence at the trial of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.
  • 1586 – Death of Henry Cheke, translator and son of Sir John Cheke. He died in York and was buried in York Minster. Cheke's works included “A Certayne Tragedie Entituled Freewyl” and his translation of Tragedia del libero arbitrio.
  • 1600 – Death of Richard Howland, Bishop of Peterborough, in his palace at Castor. He was buried in Peterborough Cathedral. Howland presided over the burial of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587.


On this day in Tudor history, 23rd June 1576, painter and miniaturist, Levina Teerlinc, died at Stepney in London.
Teerlinc was originally from Bruges and was the daughter of Simon Benninck or Bening, a master illuminator, under whom it is thought she trained. She married George Teerlinc and the couple set off for England, probably arriving in 1545. George became a gentleman pensioner to Henry VIII, and in November 1546 Levina was granted an annuity of £40 per annum and a further £20 from the king’s wife, Catherine Parr. Teerlinc was court painter to four Tudor monarchs, Henry VIII and his children: Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. She also served in Queen Elizabeth I’s privy chamber.

Art historian Roy Strong explains that she presented a miniature to the monarch each year as a New Year’s gift from 1553, when she presented Mary I with what was described as “a small picture of the Trinity”, until 1576 in Elizabeth I’s reign, the year of Teerlinc’s death. She was a prolific artist, particularly in the reign of Elizabeth I, as evidenced by mentions in the records, but, unfortunately, Teerlinc didn’t always sign her work, so there is controversy surrounding some miniatures and paintings. Teerlinc is believed to have designed the great seal of the realm used by Queen Mary I and the one used by Elizabeth I early in her reign.

It is believed that Teerlinc may have trained the famous miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard.

To commemorate the anniversary of Levina Teerlinc’s death on this day in 1576, I’m going to share with you some of the miniatures linked to Levina Teerlinc.

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23 June – Levina Teerlinc and her miniatures