The Tudor Society
  • Sibylle, the Other Daughter of Cleves by Heather R. Darsie

    Sibylle von Kleve was born on 17 January 1512 and eventually became older sister to Anna von Kleve, more commonly known as Anne of Cleves or Henry VIII’s fourth wife, in 1515. Sibylle, the eldest of Maria von Julich-Berg’s children with Duke Johann von Kleve, was elevated to the station of Electress Consort through her marriage to Johann Friedrich I, the Elector of Saxony, in 1527.

    As Electress of Saxony, Sibylle enjoyed a fruitful marriage with Johann Friedrich and had four sons, three of whom survived to adulthood. Sibylle was known as a great beauty, as can be seen from her engagement portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder from 1526 (left hand portrait). Her long, golden-brown hair is loose and flowing about her shoulders. Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop would go on to produce many portraits of Sibylle and her family, including one finished in 1531, when Sibylle was 29. In the 1531 portrait of Sibylle (right hand portrait), we see that she likely plucked back her hairline, as was fashionable in the period as a high forehead showed that a woman was of noble bearing and intelligent.

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