Notes on the Hariot Portrait

This page of notes was begun at the request of Dr. John Dudley of Auckland University. Dr. Dudley is currently researching the particulars of the Hariot portrait. Offers of additional information may be e-mailed to Dr. Dudley at or Anniina Jokinen at

Click on the picture to view full size scan.

Trinity College, Oxford.

Source of scan:
Nicholl, Charles. The Reckoning - The Murder of Christopher Marlowe.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Plate 9.

Some Notes on the Portrait:
  1. The portrait contains the inscription:

    AN DNI 1602
    The space between the "3" and the "2" is in the portrait.
    Harriot was born around 1560 which would make him 42 in 1602.

    In Muriel Rukeyser's book "The Traces of Thomas Hariot",
    Gollancz, London, 1972 that portrait is reproduced as Plate 1,
    and on the dust-jacket. The caption to Plate 1 declares:
    "Thomas Hariot. Even with the wrong details, this is taken to be his portrait."

  2. What "Harriot" is holding in his hands is perhaps a pomander,
    a spiced and scented orange which was commonly carried by
    wealthy people in Elizabethan times, to counter the stenches
    likely to be encountered.
    —Garry Tee

  3. The inscription claims he was 32 in 1602, but we know fairly
    well (from Oxford matriculation data) that he was 42.
    There is an inconsistency which needs to be addressed, but this
    can't really be done until details of when the portrait was painted,
    by whom, and for what purpose, are established.

    Backto Thomas Hariot

    Notes ©1997 Dr. John Dudley. Used by express written permission.
    Page design including background ©1997-2023 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
    This page was created by Anniina Jokinen on October 15, 1997. Last updated May 13, 2023.