Dramatis Personae – The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

I have been savouring The Mirror and the Light for about a month now and, like most people, when I think of Thomas Cromwell I think of Mark Rylance although I know he looks nothing like Cromwell. Apart from the major players, I have no idea what many of the other characters looked like. So I have draw together portraits of some of the recurring characters, particularly those of Cromwell’s household. I suspect others have done this already but my Google skills have failed me and I could not find anyone else’s collection of images.

The Cromwell Household

Thomas Cromwell
Workshop of Hans Holbein
Public domain
Richard Williams known as Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell’s nephew
by a follower of Hans Holbein
Public domain
Ralph Sadler
Workshop of Hans Holbein
Public Domain
Elizabeth Seymour
Wife of Gregory Cromwell
Hans Holbein
Public domain


Henry VIII
After Hans Holbein
Public domain
Anne Boleyn
Copy by an unknown artist c1570
Public domain
Mary Tudor
Daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
Attributed to Lucas Horenbout
Public Domain


Henry Howard,Earl of Surrey 1546
Son of the Duke of Norfolk
Attributed to William Scrots
Public domain

Ambassadors, clergymen, and rising and falling men

Thomas Wyatt
After Hans Holbein
Public domain
Thomas Audley
Unidentified painter
Public domain

14 thoughts on “Dramatis Personae – The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

    • GR Elton’s book, Reform & Renewal, was a constant during the years I studied Tudor history. The image of Thomas Cromwell on the cover is what always came to mind when I thought of him, not that I did that often. But Mark Rylance’s performance is so quietly compelling – he has pretty much become Cromwell for us. Diarmaid MacCulloch’s biography is on my list but I certainly won’t get to it this year. John Guy’s biography of Margaret and Thomas Moore is also there. I did read Young and Damned and Fair, the biography of Catherine Howard by Gareth Russell last year. It was detailed and excellent. It really was so dangerous to be near to Henry.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t considered him, but he is a good likeness. I believe there will be a TV adaptation of the Mirror and the Light eventually. It will be interesting to see who they cast if Mark Rylance isn’t. I imagine it will be near to ten years on from the first series by the time we see it.


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