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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543)

John More c.1526-7

RCIN 912226

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John More was the son of Sir Thomas More. This drawing belongs to the series of drawings made by Holbein in preparation for one of his earliest commissions in London – a painted group portrait of Sir Thomas and his family, at home in Chelsea. The More family was renowned for its academic interests, and the seventeen-year-old John is fittingly shown here absorbed in a book. He was soon to marry another sitter in the group portrait, More’s ward Anne Cresacre. Holbein’s sensitive study of Anne is also in the Royal Collection.

In spite of Sir Thomas More’s rift with Henry VIII, which lead to his execution in 1535, these drawings were kept together by Holbein (the King’s painter), and after Holbein’s death by Edward VI in whose reign they appear to have entered the Royal Collection for the first time.