Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

1 portrait on display in Room 1 at the National Portrait Gallery

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, after Hans Holbein the Younger, early 17th century (1532-1533) - NPG 1727 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

after Hans Holbein the Younger
oil on panel, early 17th century (1532-1533)
30 3/4 in. x 24 3/8 in. (781 mm x 619 mm)
Purchased, 1914
Primary Collection
NPG 1727


Click on the links below to find out more:

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Thomas Cromwell was a statesman who rose to power as the right-hand man of Cardinal Wolsey. It was he that suggested to Henry VIII that he make himself head of the Church of England to facilitate his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. In this copy after an original by Holbein, Cromwell is dressed soberly in black and portrayed in a relatively simple setting; the wooden panelling, damask wall covering and Turkish carpet suggest however an interest in fine things. On the table before him is a book, probably devotional, a quill, scissors to trim it and a soft leather bag which would have held his seal. The writing on the paper makes clear his position: 'To master Thomas Cromwell, trusty and right well-beloved master of our jewel house...' . This was one of the first posts which Cromwell held prior to becoming Henry's chief minister. He was executed for treason in 1540.

Linked publicationsback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top