NPG Number
2445
Mkey
1173
Sitter/Title
Sir Thomas Chaloner
Qualifier
by
Artist(s)
UnknownFlemishartist
Date made
1559
Medium
oil on panel
Credit line
© National Portrait Gallery, London
sir thomas chaloner

1173

2445

Sir Thomas Chaloner

by

Unknown Flemish artist

1559

oil on panel

© National Portrait Gallery, London

This unusual portrait shows Chaloner in contemplation of the brevity of human life. He holds a pair of scales in his right hand which are weighted on the side of the blazing book (a symbol of intellect and learning) against the riches of the world, shown on the other side. He is also clicking the fingers of his left hand to emphasise that life passes as quickly as a finger snap. The Latin inscription refers to Sardanapalus, the legendary exemplum of the vice of intemperance. Conservation of this frame has been supported by Sir Simon and Lady Robertson.