Hans Holbein the Younger: Study for a portrait of Thomas More's family (1527)

(Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland)

This is a sketch which Holbein made as a preparation for a now lost painting. The main person on this sketch is Thomas More, he is sitting in the center of the sketch. Thomas More was a lawyer, humanist and writer (he is the writer of the book 'Utopia' in which he writes about a political system of an imaginary ideal nation). He served as a councillor to king Henry VIII of England and as Lord High Chancellor of England from 1529 until 1532. Thomas More clashed with king Henry VIII with his separation from the Catholic Church and the esthablisment of the new protestant Church of England with Henry VIII as its supreme head. Thomas More also refused to acknowledge the divorce of Henry VIII with his first wife Catherine of Aragon. When Thomas More refused to take the Oath of Supremacy (in which any person taking public or church office in England had to swear allegiance to the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England), More was arrested and executed for
treason.This familyportrait shows More in better times together with his close family. The names of the persons were added later by the astronomer Nicholas Kratzer (1487–1550) who was a friend of Hans Holbein and Thomas More. Present on the sketch are from left to right:


- Elizabeth More (1506-1564), More's second daughter, Married to William Daunce
- Margaret Giggs, adopted daughter of More
- John More (1451-1530), father of Thomas More
- Anne Cresacre (1511-1577), wife of John More II, see below
- Thomas More himself (1478–1535)
- John More the younger (1509-1547), son of Thomas More
- Henry Patenson (1487-1527), Thomas More's household fool
- Cecily More (1507-?) More's youngest daughter, Married to Giles Heron
- Margaret More (1505-1544), More's eldest daughter, married to William Roper
- Alice Harpur (1471-1551), the second wife of Thomas


Pope Pius XI canonised Thomas More in 1935 as a martyr and is the patron of Statesmen and Politicians. Drawing from 1527

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