It can be said that the backbone of the Royal collection began with Henry VIII, though the anti-papal sentiments tended to associate art patronage with the Vatican and therefore the early works of the royals tended to anti-pope allegories mixed with portraits of English sovereigns. Almost no artists were named in the inventories of the Tudor collection.
it is possible Holbein adopted the French portrait type. Three-quarter on, both hands visible and arms that extend beyond the picture space. It is this that gives the picture such a monumental appearance and makes it look larger than it is. Henry’s eye is exactly central. he is holding a leather glove, a standard element, showing off extreme wealth but with no symbolic meaning.
Even Holbein, who has been associated so long with Henry VIII, did not have a single painting owned by the King, except for the Duchess of Milan. Landscapes and biblical allegories did not exist, and what narrative there was, was centered on the portrait, demonstrations of royal bearing, and something of the strains implied therein.
What was interesting were the “pageant pictures” which through various transformations originating say, in Flemish painting such as Memling, then into the English “story” pictures and family narratives of a Zoffany into Frith style Derby Days and into the vast realm of sentimentality that would peak with Rockwell and Americana.