Faces of the Reformation

in Church History and Religious Culture
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Some time in the second quarter of the seventeenth century the London bookseller Thomas Jenner published an engraving that shows a selection of prominent Protestant Reformers. This image was copied and adapted all over Europe into the nineteenth century. In this article a variety of adaptations of this print are placed on an approximate timeline, and it is argued that they present us with a unique visual record of the way in which the Reformation was reconceptualised in a number of national contexts and in successive periods.

Faces of the Reformation

in Church History and Religious Culture




London British Museum museum nr 19070326.31. Engraving 26 × 373 cm. Cf. Myriam Yardeni “Eruditio ancilla reformationis” in Knowledge and Religion in Early Modern Europe ed. Asaph Ben-Tov Yaacov Deutsch and Tamar Herzig (Leiden 2013) 13–24. Simon Goulart enlarged Beza’s project and Jacobus Verheiden Willem Swanenburg and Ian Iacob Boissard published similar more extensive collections. The Zurich printer Christoph Froschauer (1490–1564) who produced the books of a number of Protestant Reformers had sixteen portraits of Reformers painted onto the interior walls of his house. Twelve survived and are now in the Zentralbibliothek Zurich Raphael Kummer “Reformatoren aus dem Keller befreit” www.ref.ch (23 February 2016). These as well as the over 30 portraits of Reformers on the walls of the Bodleian Library were painted after ‘reliable’ prints and paintings M.R.A. Bullard “Talking Heads. The Bodleian Frieze its inspiration sources designer and significance” Bodleian Library Record 14/6 (1994) 461–500.


Alexandra Walsham“History, Memory, and the English Reformation,” The Historical Journal 55 (2012) 899–938there 933. Jenner was in business from 1623 to 1673. Malcolm Jones The Print in Early Modern England. An Historical Oversight (London 2010) dates it ‘ca. 1640’. Unless otherwise indicated biographical information on British persons has been taken from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


Michael van Dussen“Bohemia in English Religious Controversy before the Henrician Reformation,” Bohemian Reformation and Religious Practice7 (2009) 42–60.


Einar Molland“Reformasjonens fedre eller ‘lysestaken’. Et tema i protestantismens ikonografi og dets forekomst i Norge.” Aust Agder Arv (Stockholm 1971–1972) 4–58; Michael Windross “Word and Image in a group of seventeenth-century Protestant prints” in Language and Beyond. Actuality and Virtuality in the Relations between Word Image and Sound ed. Paul Joret and Aline Remael (Amsterdam 1990) 141–153; Sheila O’Connell The Popular Print in England 1550–1850 (London 1999) 131–132; P. Tudor-Craig “Group portraits of Protestant Reformers” in: Art Re-formed. Re-assessing the Impact of the Reformation on the Visual Arts ed. Tara Hamling and Richard L. Williams (Cambridge 2007) 87–102 and in catalogues like Emile Doumergue Iconographie Calvinienne (Lausanne 1909) 198–200 and Deutsche illustrierte Flugblatter des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts. Vol. 22 Die Sammlung der Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel ed. Wolfgang Harms (Tübingen 1997) 216–217.


Milena Bartlová“Renaissance and Reformation in Czech Art History: Issues of Period and Interpretation,” Umění 14 (2011) 2–19; Mikuláš Teich “Bohemia. From Darkness into Light” in The Enlightenment in National Context ed. Roy Porter and Mikuláš Teich (Cambridge 1981) 141–163; Diarmaid MacCulloch Reformation. Europe’s House Divided 1490–1700 (London 2003) 496; Olivier Châline “Frontieres religieuses: la Bohème après la Montagne Blanche” in Frontiers of Faith. Religious Exchange and the Constitution of Religious Identities ed. E. Andor and I. Tóth (Budapest 2001) 55–65. For ‘portraits of famous men’ in Bohemia: František Martin Pelcl Abbildungen böhmischer und mährischen Gelehrten und Kunstler 4 vols. (Prague 1773–1782).


Howard Kaminsky“Pius Aeneas among the Taborites,” Church History 28 (1959) 281–309.


Vladimír Urbánek“Displaced intellectuals and rebuilt networks: the Protestant exiles from the lands of the Bohemian Crown,” in Religious Diaspora in Early Modern Europe: Strategies of Exileed. T. Fehler a.o. (London 2014) 167–179; Milada Blekastad Comenius. Versuch eines Umrisses von Leben Werk und Schicksal des Jan Amos Komenský (Oslo 1969) 332–340 559–563.


London British Museum reg. nr. 18910224.3. Tin-glazed earthenware diameter 32 cm. See also Alexandra Walsham “Domesticating the Reformation. Material Culture Memory and Confessional Identity in Early Modern England” Renaissance Quarterly 69 (2016) 566–616.


Edward G. Ruestow“Images and Ideas: Leeuwenhoek’s Perception of the Spermatozoa,” Journal of the History of Biology 14 (1983) 185–224; id. The Microscope in the Dutch Republic. The Shaping of Discovery (Cambridge 1996); Luuc Kooijmans Gevaarlijke kennis. Inzicht en angst in de dagen van Jan Swammerdam (Amsterdam 2007) 133–142 191–202 287–290 296–298; Piet Steenbakkers Jetze Touber and Jeroen van de Ven “A Clandestine Notebook (1678–1679) on Spinoza Beverland Politics the Bible and Sex” Lias 38 (2011) 225–365 esp. 307 354–355.


Philip McNair“Ochino’s Apology: Three Gods or Three Wives?,” History 60 (1975) 352–373.


Martin Gierl“Befleckte Empfangnis. Pietistische Hermeneutik, Indifferentismus, Eklektik und die Konsolidierung pietistischer, orthodoxer und frühaufklärerischer Ansprüche und Ideen,” in Strukturen der deutschen Frühaufklärung 1680–1720ed. Hans Erik Bödeker (Göttingen 2008) 119–146.


Ute Lotz-Heumann“ ‘The Spirit of Prophecy has not wholly left the World’: the Stylisation of Archbishop James Ussher as a Prophet,” in Religion and Superstition in Reformation Europeed. Helen Parish and William G. Naphy (Manchester 2003) 119–132; Ussher’s prophecies were also published in Dutch: Vreemde en Aanmerkelijke Voorzeggingen van de Heylige Geleerde en Uitstekende Jacobus Usher (London 1678; repr. s.l. 1686 and The Hague 1688).


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    Figure 1

    The Candle is lighted, as published by Thomas Jenner© Trustees of the British Museum

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    Figure 2

    ’t Licht is op den Kandelaar gestelt, as published by Hugo Allart© Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

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    Figure 3

    ’t Licht is op den Kandelaar gestelt, as published by Carel Allard© Bijzondere Collecties Universteit van Amsterdam, OTM: Pr. G84

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    Figure 4

    Diabolicum haeresiarcharum nostri et parentum circa annum 1533 temporis conciliabolum (sic)© Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin / A. Psille

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    Figure 5

    Panel after the Dutch candlestick-prints, with Jan Žižka and other Bohemians© Rajhrad monastery, Brno; photo Kamil Till

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    Figure 6

    Delftware dish, front and back© Trustees of the British Museum

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    Figure 7

    The Candle is lighted, as published by John Garrett© National Portrait Gallery, London

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    Figure 8

    A True Account of the Rise and Growth of the Reformation© The British Library Board, nr. 816.m.22(36)

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    Figure 9

    Aux Nouveaux Catholiques de la France© Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

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    Figure 10

    Satirical representation of the Pietismusstreit© Schweitzerisches Nationalmuseum, Zurich

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    Figure 11

    The Reformation© National Portrait Gallery, London

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    Figure 12

    Marian Martyrs© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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    Figure 13

    The Protestant Reformers© Reproduced courtesy of the Glasgow Museums

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    Figure 14

    The Primitive Reformers© National Portrait Gallery, London

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