Over the past eight months, Dutch photographer Tessa Posthuma de Boer has worked intensively on a series of portraits of Henry VIII, his six wives, Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell. She began in response to the ‘Cromwell Trilogy’ by Hilary Mantel, of which the final volume, The Mirror and the Light, was published spring 2020.
Are you looking at a photograph or a painting? With her photographic collages Tessa Posthuma de Boer creates a bridge, as it were, to the past – ‘they seem ready to move and speak’ – just as Hilary Mantel creates a bridge to the present by writing about a sixteenth-century period in the present tense.
This work represents Thomas Cromwell, in full Thomas Cromwell, earl of Essex, Baron Cromwell of Okeham, (born c. 1485, Putney, near London—died July 28, 1540, probably London), principal adviser (1532–40) to England’s Henry VIII, chiefly responsible for establishing the Reformation in England, for the dissolution of the monasteries, and for strengthening the royal administration.