Tuesday, June 22, 2010

St Thomas More and St John Fisher

Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/98-1543).
Sir Thomas More,
ca. 1527.
Black, brown, red and yellow chalks, the outlines pricked.
39.8 x 29.9 cm.
The Royal Collection.

This is a preparatory drawing for a portrait painted in 1527. St Thomas More held the office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and he is shown in the robes of Chancellor of the Duchy and not Lord Chancellor as he was later to become. He had been knighted in 1521

The portrait is in the Frick Collection, New York. See below.

Hans Holbein the Younger 1497 - 1543
Sir Thomas More
Tempera on wood, 74,2 x 59 cm
Frick Collection, New York

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543)
John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester
Black and coloured chalks on pink priming, reinforced with ink
The Royal Collection.

Fisher was not afraid to declare his beliefs publicly, and became a vocal supporter of Katherine of Aragon during the arguments over the royal divorce. His opposition to the King led to his execution for high treason in 1535, shortly after he had been made Cardinal.

At both trials of Sir Thomas More and of St John Fisher, the crucial prosecution witness was Sir Richard Rich (1496/7 – 12 June 1567).

His funerary monument still exists in Felstead, Essex. See below.

Funeral Monument of Sir Richard Rich (Statue of Sir Richard recumbent above)
The Rich Funeral Chapel, Holy Cross Church, Felsted, Essex

Without him, the cases would have collapsed. He did his master`s will. In fact he advanced to such an extent he was even an exceutor in Henry VIII`s will. He thrived under Edward VII. He even offered support to Lady Jane Grey. But he advanced under Queen Mary, then under Queen Elizabeth. Rich`s earthly career put Machiavelli to shame. He appeared to be a success and died in his bed.

But now few remember Rich. But More and Fisher`s names and memories are immortal.