Thomas was the son of William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1520-1598) and his first wife, Mary Cheke.
He was a distinguished soldier, traveller and patron of the arts who shared his father’s interest in architecture.
He lived at Burghley for much of the time that the House was under construction and had a considerable influence upon its design.
He also built large houses at Snape in Yorkshire and Wimbledon.
There are versions of the portrait at Hatfield and Clare College, Cambridge, of which the 1st Earl was a benefactor.
The 1688 Burghley Inventory records: ‘My Lords Anty Roome….2 old pictures Earle Thomas, & his Lady 2 pictures in frames by ….’