Nonsuch Palace (Surrey) 1531-1554

Nonsuch Palace was built by Henry VIII in 1538 just south of London. Many artists from the Continent were involved in the project including Florentine High Renaissance painter Bartolommeo Penni who moved to London around 1519. He served as court artist to Henry VIII between 1531 and 1533. He had made the journey in company of fellow Florentine painter and architect Antonio di Nunziato d’Antonio who in English records is referred to as Anthony Toto. The latter was naturalised in 1543 and appointed to the lucrative court position of Serjeant Painter in 1544. Toto and Penni spent most of their time after 1538 working on Nonsuch Palace, including elaborate stucco work for Henry’s most advanced building, now vanished. Penni is recorded as still in England in 1538 and also worked as painter-decorator to Henry’s son and successor Edward VI. Toto died a rich man in 1554 in England.