Fliccius, Gerbarus (DNB00)

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FLICCIUS or FLICCUS, GERBARUS, GERLACHUS or GERBICUS (fl. 1546-1554), a native of Germany, was the painter of the interesting portrait of Archbishop Cranmer which was presented to the British Museum in 1776 by John Michell, M.P., of Bayfield Hall, Norfolk, and in June 1879 was transferred to the National Portrait Gallery. This portrait was painted in 1546, when the archbishop was fifty-seven years of age, and shows Cranmer without the long white beard which he suffered to grow after Henry VIII's death in the following year. The picture is signed ‘Gerbarus Fliccus Germanicus faciebat.’ It has been frequently engraved, viz. in Thoroton's ‘History of Nottinghamshire’ (1677), Strype's ‘Memorials of Cranmer,’ Lodge's ‘Illustrious Portraits,’ and other works. Other portraits from the hand of the same painter have been noted, viz. ‘Thomas, first Lord Darcy of Chiche’ (painted in 1551), at Irnham in Lincolnshire; ‘James, second Earl of Douglas and Mar’ (painted in 1547), at Newbattle Abbey, East Lothian; and others. The last-named portrait, which is probably a copy of an older one, as the earl was killed at Otterbourne in 1388, is stated to be signed ‘Gerbicus Flicciis Germanicus faciebat ætatis 40.’ A curious double portrait was offered for sale at Christie's auction-rooms on 25 July 1881; it contained two small portraits of the painter and a friend , named Strangways, who were fellow-prisoners in London at the time (1554) when it was painted, and the painting was executed in prison, according to the inscriptions. This picture was then in the possession of Robert de Ruffiero, Belsize Park Road, and had formerly belonged to Dr. Edward Monkhouse, F.S.A. All these portraits are painted in the style of Lucas Cranach, the great Lutheran painter of Saxony, and this, taken with the date of imprisonment and the painter's connection with Cranmer, would point to his being one of the victims of the religious persecutions of Queen Mary's reign and himself an ardent protestant.

[J. G. Nichols, in Archæologia, xxxix. 25; Cat. of the National Portrait Gallery, 1888; information from G. Scharf, C.B., F.S.A.]

L. C.