Thomas Wolsey(1470 or 1471-1530), Cardinal and statesman
Sitter associated with 37 portraits
'Of vast ability and indefatigable', Wolsey was a butcher's son from Ipswich who rose to become Henry VIII's most powerful minister in the early part of his reign. He was a talented statesmen who was created a Cardinal by Pope Leo X in 1515 and was made Lord Chancellor by Henry the same year, succeeding William Warham in the post. He founded Cardinal College, Oxford (later refounded as Christ Church) and built the palace of Hampton Court. Wolsey promoted the King's ambitious foreign policy, but fell from favour when he failed to obtain Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon. He died before he could be tried for treason.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
after Unknown artist
woodcut, published 1684