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31 January 2015 @ 01:17 pm
more on Thomas More  
I really haven't done a lot of reading about Thomas More, so I didn't know about the annotations More apparently made on the drawing for the Holbein portrait discussed here:

Wolf Hall is wrong: Thomas More was a funny, feminist Renaissance man

(The title of this article is a bit silly.)

Edited to add relevant text from the article:

For this Tudor statesman did not just want Holbein to paint him, but to include all his nearest and dearest in what was clearly intended as a companionate image of family life, like nothing hitherto seen in Britain. Women and men all gather together sociably in a little community. On the compositional drawing that survives, More has annotated Holbein’s design. Next to Holbein’s depiction of his wife kneeling, More asks for a change – she should be sitting in a chair, not kneeling like a servant!

Tragically, Holbein’s painting is lost. The drawings and copy that survive, however, tell a story of a truly loving family and a politician with almost feminist ideas, by the standards of the time. A copy by a 16th-century artist in the National Portrait Gallery proves that More got his way with the kneeling. All the women depicted are seated, reflecting More’s written instruction to do away with that particular bit of gender hierarchy.