Sir Thomas Gresham (1519?-1579), Founder of the Royal Exchange
Sitter associated with 23 portraits
Mercer, financier and diplomat, Gresham was the founder of the Royal Exchange. He also played a vital part in the management of the finances of Elizabethan England, and was present at Queen Elizabeth I's first council. As Crown Agent at Antwerp (1551-74) he arranged loans at favourable rates and exported weapons and pictures to England. During his years in the southern Netherlands, he also regularly supplied Elizabeth's privy council with invaluable information about political affairs and finances.