Last week, Taylor Swift released her third album in ten months. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is on course to top the UK charts – following in the footsteps of Folklore (2020) and Evermore (2020). If a casual listener were to hear the album, they might wonder why these songs sound familiar. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is a re-recorded version of Fearless (2008), Swift’s second studio album. Swift’s master records of her first six albums – the eponymous 2006 debut up until Reputation (2017) – were sold to the pop-manager Scooter Braun in 2019. Braun then sold the back catalogue to the private equity firm Shamrock Holdings. Swift plans to re-record each of the albums to own the rights to her music.
Holbein’s tiny portrait projects us into a private moment in the life of an ordinary middle-class woman living in the reign of Henry VIII.