Margaret More (1505–1544), Wife of William Roper

Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger (German, Augsburg 1497/98–1543 London)

Date: 1535–36

Medium: Vellum laid on playing card

Dimensions: Diameter 1 3/4 in. (45 mm)

Classification: Miniatures

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1950

Accession Number: 50.69.2


Margaret (1505–1544) was the eldest child and favorite daughter of Sir Thomas More. She married William Roper (50.69.1) in 1521. She was born about October 1505, and the age assigned to her in the artist's inscription indicates that this miniature was painted in 1535–36, shortly after her father's execution. She is one of the ten figures in The Family of Sir Thomas More, a painting on which Holbein worked from 1526 to 1528. In that representation she also reads a book, showing her dedication to learning. The painting of the family group is lost and is known only from Holbein's drawing in the Offentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel, and from later copies by Rowland Lockey (died 1616); one of those copies was probably painted for William and Margaret Roper's son Thomas about 1593. In the eighteenth century it was still in the family house, Well Hall, Eltham, Kent (Rowlands 1985, no. L.10(a)).

[2015; adapted from Reynolds and Baetjer 1996]