Sir Thomas Wyatt

Witty, inventive, and occasionally satirical, the poet Thomas Wyatt (ca. 1503–1542) exerted wide influence in cultured courtly circles. An important early translator of poems by Francesco Petrarch (1304–1374), Wyatt introduced the Italian sonnet form to England. Holbein portrayed Wyatt not as a writer, with book and pen, but as a courtier, perhaps in recognition of his recent knighthood. The artist rendered Wyatt’s identifying feature, his luxuriant beard, with a combination of animated strokes of ink and black, brown, and yellow chalks.

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98–1543)
Sir Thomas Wyatt, 1535–37
Black and colored chalks, and pen and black ink on pink prepared paper
Lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; RCIN 912250

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022