Sir Thomas Chaloner
1 portrait on display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
Sir Thomas Chaloner
by Unknown Flemish artist
oil on panel, 1559
28 in. x 21 1/2 in. (711 mm x 546 mm)
This portraitback to top
This unusual portrait shows Chaloner in contemplation of the brevity of human life. He holds a pair of scales in his right hand which are weighted on the side of the blazing book (a symbol of intellect and learning) against the riches of the world, shown on the other side. He is also clicking the fingers of his left hand to emphasise that life passes as quickly as a finger snap. The Latin inscription refers to Sardanapalus, the legendary exemplum of the vice of intemperance. Conservation of this frame has been supported by Sir Simon and Lady Robertson.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Cooper, Tarnya, Searching for Shakespeare, 2006 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 29 May 2006), p. 35
- Cooper, Tarnya, Searching for Shakespeare (hardback), 2006 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 29 May 2006), p. 35
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 112
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 45
Events of 1559back to top
Current affairsQueen Elizabeth I rejects a marriage proposal from Philip II of Spain; a proposal from Charles Archduke of Austria is also declined.
Elizabeth I is crowned at Westminster Abbey.
Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity approve a new religious settlement reinstating the Protestant faith and introducing the Elizabethan Prayer Book.
Matthew Parker becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
Art and scienceThe Italian anatomist Matteo Realdo Colombo publishes De re anatomica (On Things Anatomical), in which he describes the pulmonary circulation of blood.
InternationalMary Queen of Scots becomes Queen of France when her husband Francis II succeeds to the French throne.
Scottish Protestants under John Knox rebel against Queen Mary. Monasteries are sacked and royal tombs desecrated.
The Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis ends the war between France, Spain and England. Spain is confirmed as the dominant power in Italy.
Exhibitions and displays
- Life, Death and Memory
Until 4 February 2018
Tell us more
Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer