Sir Thomas More(1478-1535), Lord Chancellor, classical scholar, author of 'Utopia' and canonized 1935
Sitter associated with 54 portraits
Humanist scholar and author of Utopia, which aimed to encourage the reform of English politics. The dialogues satirised European society and included the famous description of the newly discovered island of Utopia - a name derived from the Greek for 'nowhere'. The argument that statesmen need to adopt an indirect approach in order to steer policy, in a manner 'that adapts itself to the play in hand', is one of the defining precepts of humanist political philosophy. More became Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor in 1529. He opposed the King's divorce from Katherine of Aragon and refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, which acknowledged Henry as head of the Church of England. He was executed for treason in 1535 and canonised by the Catholic Church in 1935.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
by Aurelio Mistruzzi
bronze medal, 1935