Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Toto, Anthony

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TOTO, ANTHONY (fl. 1518–1551), painter, was a native of Florence, where his father, Toto del Nunziata, was an artist and image-maker of some note. Toto was a pupil of the painter Ghirlandajo, a friend of his father, at the same time as the celebrated painter Perino del Vaga. In 1519 Toto was engaged at Florence by the sculptor Pietro Torrigiano [q. v.] to come to England and work on a projected tomb for Henry VIII and his queen. The tomb was never executed, but Toto entered the service of the king as painter, and his name usually appears in conjunction with that of Bartolommeo Penni, another Florentine painter. Their names frequently occur together among the payments recorded in the account-books of the royal household. It is stated by Vasari that Toto executed numerous works for the king of England, some of which were in architecture, more especially the principal palace of that monarch, by whom he was largely remunerated. It is probable that this ‘principal palace’ was Nonesuch Palace, near Cheam in Surrey, erected by Henry VIII about this time, which is known to have been adorned on the outside with statues and paintings. Toto received letters of naturalisation and free denization in June 1538, in which year he and Helen, his wife, received a grant of two cottages at Mickleham in Surrey, and in 1543 he succeeded Andrew Wright as the king's serjeant-painter. Payments for various services occur in the accounts of the royal household to Toto, including in 1540 a payment ‘to Anthony Tote's servant that brought the king a table of the story of King Alexander,’ and another to the same servant, who brought to the king at Hampton Court ‘a depicted table of Calomia.’ Toto lived in the parish of St. Bridget, London, as is shown by a summons issued to him for disobeying the orders of the Painters' Company in 1546. His name occurs in the household of Edward VI as late as 1551. He is perhaps the ‘Mr. Anthony, the kynge's servaunte of Grenwiche,’ mentioned in the will of Hans Holbein [q. v.] in 1543.

[Nichols's Notices of the Contemporaries and Successors of Holbein (Archæologia, vol. xxxix.); Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Rymer's Fœdera; Household Books of Henry VIII and Edward VI; Vasari's Lives of the Painters, ed. Milanesi; Blomfield's Hist. of Renaissance Architecture in England; Archæol. Journal, September 1894.]

L. C.