CM: This is a portrait of Sir John More (1451?-1530), father of Thomas More (1478-1535) and a prominent Judge of the King's Bench. Sir John accepted to see his son be torn between a monastic calling and civil service. Eventually, however Sir John saw Thomas More follow in his footsteps. He lived long enough to see Thomas More become a monk around 1495, a barrister in 1501, a member of Parliament and husband in 1504, a member of the Privy Council in 1518, a Knight in 1521, and Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, Sir John did not live to see his son resign from his office – citing ill health – in 1532, and eventually executed – for refusing to endorse King Henry VIII's plan to divorce Katherine of Aragón – at the Tower of London in 1534.
The present print clearly cites being engraved after a portrait of Sir John More by Holbein in the Royal Collection, which is yet to be identified and compared. A well-known portrait of Sir Thomas More in 1527 by Hans Holbein the Younger is kept at The Frick Collection in New York. A handcolored print on the subject of Thomas More in 1812 by Thomas Cheesman is kept at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum. Upon comparing the present portrait with the aforementioned representations of Thomas More, the likeness of father and son is particularly striking.