by Unknown artist
oil on panel, after 1556
18 1/2 in. x 14 1/2 in. (470 mm x 368 mm)
Given by William Smith, 1866
Sitterback to top
- Reginald Pole (1500-1558), Cardinal and Archbishop of Canterbury. Sitter associated with 28 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The son of the Countess of Salisbury, and therefore of royal blood, Pole was favoured by Henry VIII. He chose exile, however, rather than accept Henry as head of the English Church and wrote a pamphlet criticising the king's conduct. It was while in exile in 1536 that he was appointed a Cardinal; in 1549 he nearly became Pope. Pole returned to England in 1554 after the accession of Mary I. Appointed Archbishop of Canterbury two years later, he nonetheless failed to fully restore the country to Catholicism. Pole died within hours of the death of the queen. He is shown in this portrait wearing his cardinal's robes and a scarlet biretta.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Bolland, Charlotte; Cooper, Tarnya, The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered, 2014 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12th September 2014 to 1st March 2015), p. 105
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 498
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 251
Events of 1556back to top
Current affairsThomas Cranmer, the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, is denounced as a heretic and burned at the stake in Oxford.
Cardinal Reginald Pole becomes Archbishop of Canterbury.
Art and scienceThe German physician and mineralogist Georg Agricola publishes De re metallica (On the Nature of Metals), the first systematic treatise about the mining and smelting of metals. It will remain the authoritative text on the subject for 250 years.
InternationalAbdication of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. His brother Archduke Ferdinand of Austria becomes Holy Roman Emperor and his son Philip of Spain, husband of Queen Mary I, succeeds to the throne of Spain as Philip II.
Akbar becomes Mughal Emperor of India defeating the Afghans at the Battle of Panipat.
The most devastating earthquake in history occurs in China's Shaanxi Province; an estimated 830,000 people are killed.
Recommended Exhibitions & displays
- 'This sceptred isle': Shakespeare and the Plantagenets
Until 1 December
- Silhouettes display, 2004-05
- Return to Life: A New Look at the Portrait Bust
- 2019 Anniversaries
- William Hazlitt's Spirit of the Age
- Making History: Printed Portraiture in Tudor and Stuart Britain
- Mary, Queen of Scots: Fact and Fiction
- Restoration Lives: Samuel Pepys and His Circle
- Brilliant Women
- Chartist Portraits
- Mary, Queen of Scots
- Nelson: before and after Trafalgar
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Art Conservation Project
- Rebel women
- Theodore de Mayerne
- Popular Prints of Victoria and Albert
- Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
- Searching for Shakespeare
- Duplicate of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Art Conservation Project