John Whitgift (d.1604) was the eldest son of a merchant and born in Great Grimsby, Lincolnshire. His uncle was an Abbot and provided an education for him; Whitgift excelled as a student and moved to Queen's College Cambridge in 1549, followed by Pembroke Hall. He became a fellow at Peterhouse in 1555 and became Chaplain to the Bishop of Ely in 1560. He went on to be Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1567-1577, during which time he preached before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I for the first time. Whitgift was appointed Bishop of Worcester in 1577 and later Archbishop of Canterbury in 1583.
Known portraits of John Whitgift can be found in the Collections of the National Portrait Gallery, Lambeth Palace and Cambridge University, two of which are illustrated in J. Ingamells' The English Episcopal Portrait, figures 307 A1 and 308 B2.