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Engraving - John Foxe

John Foxe

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (engraved)

  • Date:

    1623-1630 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Droeshout, Martin II, born 1601 (engraver)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving, ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Edgar Seligman

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58b, case 2

Object Type
This print is an engraving, made by cutting lines into the surface of a flat piece of metal, inking the plate and then transferring the ink held in the lines onto a sheet of paper.

The subject of the portrait is the author and martyrologist John Foxe. He is most famous for his publication of Actes and Monuments of these latter and perilous times touching matters of the Church, first printed in Latin in 1559, which became known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs. In it Foxe presented a history of the Church, focusing on the Church in England and giving an account of the martyrs to the Protestant cause. His aim in writing this book was to prove that Protestantism was the true faith.

Subject Depicted
This likeness of John Foxe was probably copied from his portrait in Herologia Anglica, a collection of portraits and biographies of notable personages that was published in 1620. In the preface the compiler and publisher Henry Holland stated that where possible the engravings in the book were based on contemporary oil paintings. In a 1682 edition of the book once owned by the celebrated French print collector Pierre Mariette (1634-1716), an inscription in the margin described the source of this print of John Foxe as 'from Dr Fox his sons house'.

Physical description

Print, portrait of a man, showing head and shoulders, facing slightly right, within an oval border with letters.

Place of Origin

London (engraved)


1623-1630 (made)


Droeshout, Martin II, born 1601 (engraver)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving, ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'The true...and Scotland/ Martin D. sculpsit London. Are to be soulde by Roger Daniell.'
Lettered with name of sitter etc., 7 lines of description and


Height: 16.8 cm excluding mount, Width: 11.2 cm excluding mount

Object history note

Engraved in London and signed by Martin Droeshout (born in London, 1601, probably died in Madrid after 1639) for Roger Daniel (active 1627-1666), a London bookseller.

Foxe, an extreme Protestant, went into exile in Strasbourg after the accession of Mary Tudor in 1553. There in 1554 he published a Latin work on the persecution of Protestants since the days of William Wycliffe. In Basle in 1559 he published a continuation up to 1558. In 1563, having returned to London, he issued the first English edition of his Actes and Monuments, better known as Book of Martyrs. This portrait is a version of one engraved by Willem and Magdalena van de Passe, published in 1620 [from departmental notes].

Descriptive line

Print, portrait of John Foxe, engraved by Martin Droeshout, early 17th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1960: Volume 2, Edgar Seligman Gift. London: HMSO, 1966.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Portraits of political and clerical figures were produced in great quantities from the late 16th century. Engravings were considered superior to woodcuts. Protestant clergymen like John Foxe (1516-1587) were usually shown as scholars rather than in clerical dress. [27/03/2003]


Printing ink




Prints; Portraits; Christianity


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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