HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
(b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London)
Portrait of Thomas Cromwellc. 1533
Oak, 76 x 61 cm
Frick Collection, New York
Though Cromwell (c. 1485-1540) came from a modest background, he rose at court so successfully that he became the king's secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was he who suggested to Henry VIII that the king make himself head of the English Church. As Vicar General, Cromwell put into effect the Dissolution of the Monasteries. However, in 1540, he fell from favour with Henry and was executed. The inscription on the paper lying on the table describes Cromwell as "Master of the Jewell House," an official position that he occupied for one year from April 12, 1532.
The painting was executed probably by Holbein's workshop.