HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
(b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London)

Sir Thomas Elyot

Chalk, pen and brush on paper, 286 x 206 mm
Royal Collection, Windsor

Here, the flat hat and the falling hair give the head greater solidity, accentuated, as in the companion-piece, by the vaporous quality of the upper body. The striking use of black and yellow in each case sharpens the pink coloration of the prepared paper (useful for rendering flesh tones), and makes the drawing more forceful. As in earlier portrait drawings and the 1527 portrait of More, stubble on the man's chin accentuates sense of `here-and-now', the living presence marvelled at in the inscription on Derich Born portrait's.

Elyot was a member of Sir Thomas More's circle and praised him in `the boke named the Governour', his great treatise on education (1531). After More's execution however, he reneged, asking Cromwell to forget this ertswhile friendship. The Gouvernor was to wield influence up to and throughout Elizabeth I's reign, with its advocacy of the complete training a Renaissance mind and body would need, not restricted to narrow, academic learning alone. The book is thought to have been instrumental in determining the reformers to set up a tier of academies - the King Edward VI grammar schools - in the early 1550s.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.