As the new age of the Renaissance began to flower, Hans Holbein the Younger, born in 1497 and at first apprenticed to his father, discovered his vocation - portrait painting. His picture of the most famous scholar of his age, Erasmus of Rotterdam, reveals the complexity of his subject's character. Erasmus introduced him to Sir Thomas More, through whom Holbein came to know, and paint, other members of Henry VIII's court. The new patrons of the time, merchants and bankers and rulers who ran their kingdoms like business empires, required a new kind of painter who would depict them surrounded by all the trappings of their wealth and power, and by objects symbolizing their cultural interests. In 1532 Holbein went to England for the second time and remained there, becoming court painter to Henry and portraying many of the courtiers - and queens - who came within the king's orbit. In 1543 the plague ravaged London once more; it was a 'Dance of Death' such as Holbein had illustrated earlier in his career, and this time the painter himself fell victim to it.