Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

1 portrait

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger, circa 1532-1533 - NPG 6310 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger
watercolour and bodycolour on vellum, circa 1532-1533
1 3/4 in. (44 mm) diameter
Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund, 1994
Primary Collection
NPG 6310

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A fine brush has been used on Holbein's minia…

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 or 1498-1543). Artist associated with 314 portraits, Sitter associated with 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This portrait of Thomas Cromwell may be one of the first miniatures Holbein painted. It was made during his second visit to England in 1532 when Cromwell was advancing as a trusted councillor of the king. The mount has been cut from a playing card of the suit of spades. This portrait is mounted in the same case as another, later, miniature of Cromwell.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 6311: Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex (source portrait)

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Events of 1532back to top

Current affairs

A convocation of English clergy ratifies Thomas Cromwell's Submission of the English Clergy, thereby surrendering all control of the English Church to King Henry VIII. Sir Thomas More resigns as Lord Chancellor in protest. Pope Clement VII threatens to excommunicate King Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn is made Marchioness of Pembroke.

Art and science

Thomas Cromwell's miniature portrait is painted, probably by the German artist Hans Holbein the Younger. The first collected edition of Geoffrey Chaucer's works is published by William Thynne.


Suleiman I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire invades Hungary and fails to conquer Vienna for a second time. The Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro defeats and captures Atahulpa, emperor of the Incas.

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