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Thomas Cranmer

1 of 46 portraits of Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer, by Gerlach Flicke, 1545-1546 - NPG 535 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Cranmer

by Gerlach Flicke
oil on panel, 1545-1546
38 3/4 in. x 30 in. (984 mm x 762 mm)
Transferred from British Museum, 1879
Primary Collection
NPG 535

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Sitterback to top

  • Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Archbishop of Canterbury. Sitter associated with 46 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Gerlach Flicke (active 1545-died 1558), Painter. Artist associated with 7 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Cranmer holds the Epistles of St Paul, and on the table are two books, one of which appears to be St Augustine's Of faith and works. This portrait was painted by the German artist Gerlach Flicke, who was working in England between 1545 and 1558. Recent analysis using infrared reflectography has revealed that several changes were made to the composition during both the planning stages and the painting process. The same technique also revealed the word 'rot' (the German for red) written beneath the paint layers on the red cushion at the lower right of the painting and three areas of broken glass in the window behind Cranmer which are probably symbolic, but whose exact meaning is now unclear.

Related worksback to top

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Events of 1545back to top

Current affairs

The French fleet makes an invasion attempt on England. The pride of the English fleet, the Mary Rose warship is sunk during the engagement with the French, killing over seven hundred men.

Art and science

The artist John Bettes the Elder paints A Man in a Black Cap. The artist's nationality is emphasized in the inscription faict par Johan Bettes Anglois (made by John Bettes, Englishman). The Dutch artist William Scrots arrives in England and becomes the principal court painter. The first botanical garden in Europe is established in the University of Padua.


The Council of Trent convenes. Summoned by Pope Paul III and running until 1563, the council reasserts the doctrines of the Catholic Church in answer to the Protestant Reformation. It is one of the principal events of the Counter-Reformation.

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