The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

First Previous 4 OF 26 NextLast

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

4 of 26 portraits of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

© National Portrait Gallery, London

4 Likes voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Buy a print Make a donation Close
  • Buy a print
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

studio of Hans Holbein the Younger
watercolour and bodycolour on vellum, circa 1537
1 3/4 in. (44 mm) diameter
Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund, 1994
Primary Collection
NPG 6311


Detail of the pendant of St George and the Dr…

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 or 1498-1543), Painter, printmaker and designer; son of Hans Holbein the Elder. Artist associated with 308 portraits, Sitter associated with 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This portrait is mounted in the same case as an earlier miniature of Cromwell from which it is derived. This version, probably from Holbein's studio, must have been painted following the sitter's election to the Order of the Garter in 1537 as he is shown wearing the collar of the Greater George. The gold locket is late eighteenth or early nineteenth century in date and housed both miniatures back to back.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 6310: Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex (after)

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Subject/Themeback to top

Events of 1537back to top

Current affairs

Prince Edward (later King Edward VI) is born at Hampton Court. His mother, Jane Seymour dies twelve days later.
Leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace popular rising against Church reforms and enclosure are captured and executed.
The English translation of the Bible by Miles Coverdale becomes the first complete Bible to be printed in England.

Art and science

The German artist Hans Holbein the Younger paints a dynastic portrait of King Henry VIII, his third wife, Jane Seymour, and his parents, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, on a wall of the privy chamber in Whitehall Palace (destroyed in the fire of 1698).


Francis I of France and Suleiman I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire agree to act together against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
Christian III, King of Denmark and Norway introduces Lutheran Protestantism as the state religion.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.



Gallery blog

Read our latest news and have your say.

Join the conversation

Tell us More about our silhouettes, photograph of Hubert Leslie, Silhouettist

Identify our Silhouettes

Join enthusiastic contributors who have already identified 155 sitters.

Help transcribe signatures

Tell us More about our Silvy sitters, photograph of Camille Silvy, photographer with boy

Tell us more about our Silvy sitters

Help us identify the sitters who visited Camille Silvy’s photographic studio during the 1860s.

Identify our sitters