1536. Oil on wood. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy. Read Note.
Sir Richard Southwell (? - c. 1564) was one of the most calculating and treacherous members of Henry VIII's court. He became a creature of Thomas Cromwell and was instrumental in aiding Richard Rich in his attempts to force the imprisoned Sir Thomas More to incriminate himself in 1532. Southwell also made accusations against a childhood friend, the Earl of Surrey, that led to the latter’s execution. Cromwell employed him as a general factotum during the dissolution of the monasteries between 1536 and 1539. He was knighted (after Cromwell’s downfall) in 1542. Southwell later renounced Protestantism, and thus found favor under Mary I (1553-8), but as a result he was shunned in Elizabeth’s reign.
See: Hans Holbein. Portrait of Sir Richard Southwell. Portrait of Sir Richard Southwell.