Picture of the Week #30

17th century embroidered jacket and painting. Victoria & Albert Museum, May 2003.

If I remember correctly, this is the earliest known example of a textile shown in a painting where both the painting and the textile still exist. It slightly post-dates the Elizabethan period – the jacket was made in 1610 and altered in 1620. The sitter is Margaret Laton and the painting is attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.

For a better version of this image, here is a link to the page for these items at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

More info on new Arthur Tudor book

I received a little more information on the upcoming book on Arthur Tudor edited by Steven Gunn and Linda Monckton. [Previous post, with pre-order links]

Click the image below for a larger version (sorry if it is hard to read, that’s the largest size image I have). You can also read the information on the publisher’s website.

[Comments are closed on some older posts that were attracting a lot of spam. If you wish to make a comment on this post, please contact Lara via the link in the sidebar.]

Picture of the Week #29

Longleat House. May 1998

On my first trip to the UK in 1998, I was driving west from my first stop of the adventure (Stonehenge) towards the next stop (Glastonbury) and saw the sign for Longleat and decided to drive up and take a look. I didn’t have time in my “schedule” to go in to the house, so I just snapped a few photos from the car park and rested a little before getting back on the road. I did something similar the next day in south Wales making a quick stop at Tintern Abbey. Unlike Longleat, I did actually get a second chance to visit Tintern and properly tour it in 2003.

Joely Richardson cast as Katherine Parr in final season of “The Tudors”

I heard this earlier in the week, but I was waiting for the official press release to come out, which is now has. Richardson has a Tudor acting pedigree… her mother is Vanessa Redgrave, who has portrayed both Anne Boleyn and Mary Queen of Scots.

Press Release:


LOS ANGELES, CA (July 22, 2009) Noted film and television actress Joely Richardson has joined the cast of the critically acclaimed drama series, THE TUDORS for its fourth and final season. Richardson will portray Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) sixth and last wife, in five episodes of the series, which is currently filming in Dublin, Ireland. THE TUDORS is scheduled to premiere on SHOWTIME in 2010.

Best known to American audiences for her celebrated work for five seasons on the popular cable series Nip/Tuck for which she was twice-nominated for Golden Globe Awards — Richardson is part of an English theatrical dynasty that includes her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, father, director Tony Richardson, and aunt Lynn Redgrave and sister, the late Natasha Richardson. Her film credits include The Patriot, I’ll Do Anything, and most recently, in the children’s fantasy film, The Last Mimzy.

Viewers and critics alike have been enthralled watching the storied exploits of the sexy, hard-bodied King Henry VIII as he weds, beds and beheads women and wives across 16th century England. Both Rhys Meyers and the series have been nominated for Golden Globe Awards, and the series has won two Emmys for its incredible costume designs and main title theme music. The new season will chronicle Henry’s dark, final days, his war against France and his final wives (Catherine Howard (played by Tamzin Merchant) and Catherine Parr). The series was nominated for five Emmys this year, including Costumes, Casting and Cinematography.

THE TUDORS is an Ireland-Canada co-production, executive produced by Morgan O’Sullivan for Octagon Films; Benjamin Silverman and Teri Weinberg for Reveille Productions; Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan for Working Title Films, and Sheila Hockin; and is created, written and executive produced by Michael Hirst. SHOWTIME presents the series in association with Peace Arch Entertainment.

(First spotted at The Futon Critic)

Hanging the Mary Rose out to dry

In the literal sense, of course:

From the Oxford Mail:

FOR more than 400 years she has been soaking wet, but Oxfordshire scientists are looking for a hi-tech way to allow the Mary Rose to dry out and remain intact.

Initially, the ship was sprayed with chilled, fresh water to rinse out harmful salts and acids and, since 1994, has been continually sprayed with polyethylene glycol, a water-soluble wax.

That stabilises the wood structure and prevents shrinkage during drying.

Researchers are now working on developing a treatment for the wood to extract compounds within it where it was in contact with iron, such as bolts or artefacts like cannons. If they can do that then it will mean the ship will not have to be continually sprayed.

Full article

Kathy’s Report of Steven Gunn’s lecture on Charles Brandon

Steven Gunn’s lecture on Charles Brandon
Gainsborough Old Hall, July 10, 2009

First of all, I have to recommend that everybody interested in Tudor times visit Gainsborough Old Hall. It’s a bit off the beaten tourist path, but just a short train ride from Lincoln. I don’t think their website does them justice, but check it out, especially their amazing list of events and speakers — Gainsborough Old Hall.

I took the train up to Lincoln, checked into my hotel, and after a leisurely tour of the cathedral, took the train to Gainsborough. Marilyn R from the boards here met me and, after coffee, drove me to the Old Hall, where I got a private tour, and she pointed out various aspects of the history. I won’t go into detail, but I was very much impressed with the restoration work they had done there. A lot of extensive restorations end up looking very slick and modern like a faux antique. But they have avoided that at Gainsborough, and the Old Hall is the better for it.

I had a chance to shake hands with Steven Gunn briefly before we all filed into the great hall for the lecture complete with a powerpoint presentation of pictures. I would have picked him out as an academic (in the very best sense of the word) in a crowd – he just had that air about him. But he was also relatively young, enthusiastic about his subject, and happy to share his knowledge. And nicest of all, he had a sense of humor.

The first picture that went up on the screen was the portrait of Brandon in his later years. “If I tell you that this is Charles Brandon, you will expect to be in for a dull lecture about a dull old man this evening,” Gunn began. “But he looked much different than that in his younger years.” And up went a picture of Henry Cavill in The Tudors. That got a hearty laugh.

And just how does somebody like Charles Brandon come from being an obscure squire to become one of the most powerful nobles in the kingdom and and the king’s brother-in-law? That was the question of the evening.

Gunn answered it by tracing Charles’s early life through his arrival at court and subsequent career.

I don’t mean to write a biography of Charles Brandon here, so I’ll just hit the highlights as Gunn wove them into a compelling portrait of somebody who was seemingly lucky as he was talented.

How to get ahead at the Tudor court:

1. Be friends with the king. This, of course, is the quickest and surest way. Henry VIII was very generous to his friends. And Brandon was in a unique position to achieve this.

2. Have a dead hero for a father. Charles’s father, Sir William Brandon, was Henry VII’s standard bearer and died at the battle of Bosworth, killed by Richard III himself as he tried to shield Henry. Nothing will endear you to a Tudor more than unquestioned loyalty.

3. Have a relative in a position to get you to court. In Charles’s case, it was his uncle Sir Thomas Brandon, who was very well-positioned and could easily get his nephew a place, which it is believed that he did, though the details are a little murky.

4. Share an interest with the king. In this case, it was jousting. Charles excelled at all things athletic and was probably better than the king, though he quite obviously let Henry win on most occasions.

(A brief aside here. There is a debate on whether or not Henry was allowed to joust in his teens. He may have been prevented from it. The only evidence hinges on the interpretation of one word in a Latin text. David Starkey insists Henry was forbidden to participate, but Gunn believes he was allowed and said he would disagree with Starkey as a general principle. I got the very strong impression he does not view Starkey favorably.)

5. Be friends with everybody. Charles seems to have a knack for getting along with people. Some people, notably the Boleyns, did not like him, but that was based mainly on jealously because of his close relationship with the king. Other than situations like that, he got along very well with most people. Gunn thinks he cultivated and practiced this ability.

6. Have a talent the king needs. Henry VIII had a very good eye for spotting talent and putting people in positions to use their talent to further his own reign. Gunn believes Charles’s main talent was military command. He was considered an excellent leader and was especially good at making divergent elements of the military follow him.

7. Marry well. Charles married Henry’s sister, Mary, the Dowager Queen of France. You can’t marry any better than that. The details of the match are a bit murky, but it was clearly a love match, neither being forced into it. In the eyes of the church, that marriage made Henry and Charles brothers.

8. Build up your land and your wealth. This Charles set about doing very assiduously the entire time he was a duke.

And finally, 9. Display power. This involved making sure you looked the part you aspired to, including have the proper clothes, servants, manors, etc. Again, Charles did this very well, though he doesn’t seem to have been interested in wealth for its own sake.

I can’t say I really learned anything new about Charles Brandon that I wasn’t aware of before. But I have spent years studying him, so I didn’t really expect to. Gunn made some very minor errors during the lecture, but I think those were done in the interests of expediency, so I won’t fault him for that. And it was a treat hearing somebody else’s take on a person I have been studying for so long.

After the lecture I had the opportunity to talk to with Gunn and asked him to autograph my copy of his book on Brandon, now out of print. He seemed delighted to be asked for an autograph and willingly signed it. I told him how difficult it was to obtain a copy of the book, and how ridiculously priced they were on the net. He was unaware of this and said he was going to check into it. I think he’s at the mercy of his publisher — much as Alison Weir is — but it would be nice if they reissued it. I hope he can talk them into it.

In return for the autograph, I offered him a bit of information I didn’t think he knew, mainly because nobody seems to have noticed this before except me: the date of Charles Brandon’s death, August 22, 1545, was the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth. Gunn looked absolutely stunned and said slowly, “You know, I do believe you are right!”

We then retired for coffee to an adjoining room — the same room that Henry VIII occupied when he was at the Old Hall in 1541! I would love to have talked to Steven Gunn some more but decided I really shouldn’t be monopolize him. I ended up talking to the vicar of the nearby All Saints Church. I had seen the church on the way into the Old Hall and wondered if that was the church Henry would have attended when he stayed in Gainsborough. The vicar says unfortunately it isn’t the same one as several have built on the site over the years. Henry would certainly have attended whichever one was there at the time though. The vicar did mention other interesting item. The original church from back in the Middle Ages was built by Templar Knights, so it would have been round. I think they should get Time Team in to look for that one and to see if they can find any remains from the Tudor era as well.

After that, the lovely evening ended, and Marilyn and her friend Joy drove me safely back to Lincoln. I am profoundly grateful to them and to all the Tudor fans (most of them from this site!) who took me under their wing while I was in England, making sure I didn’t get lost on the train system, getting me into places that tourists normally don’t see, and just being there for scintillating Tudor conversation. It was definitely Pastime With Good Companye.

Emmy nominations for “The Tudors”

Yeah, I know these were announced a few days ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting them.

Congrats to the crew of “The Tudors” for the following Emmy nominations:

* Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series
* Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series
* Outstanding Cinematography For A One Hour Series
* Outstanding Costumes For A Series
* Outstanding Hairstyling For A Single-Camera Series

The winners will be announced in September, and the full list of nominees can be seen at Emmys.org

Picture of the Week #28

Medal with a portrait of Queen Mary I. British Museum, May 1998.

From the British Museum website page for this item:

Cast and chased gold medal of Mary I, by Jacopo da Trezzo
Brussels or London, about AD 1554-55

This medal depicts Queen Mary I of England (reigned 1553-58), who was married to Philip from 1554 until her death. Having her portrait made by a Milanese medallist was part of the process of presenting herself to the world as a Habsburg bride. At about the same time, the Habsburg court portraitist, Antonis Mor (about 1516-1576), was sent to paint Mary’s portrait. Jacopo may even have gone with him to London; the images by the painter and the medallist are closely related.

The medal survives in many other silver and bronze examples. This example is the unique surviving gold specimen, which may have been commissioned by Philip as a gift to Mary.

Forthcoming book on Arthur Tudor

Kathy discovered while at Steven Gunn’s talk on Charles Brandon that Gunn has edited an upcoming work on Arthur Tudor. Unfortunately it has the high pricing of a small-run academic work, but if you are interested, here are the pre-order links:

And the product description from Amazon.co.uk:

Prince Arthur (1486-1502), son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, was the great hope of early Tudor England. Today he is largely forgotten, remembered only as Henry VIII’s shadowy elder brother, the first husband of Katherine of Aragon. But in his lifetime Arthur counted for much more than that. Groomed for kingship, sent to govern Wales and the Marches, married to secure the Spanish alliance, celebrated in portraits, poems and pageants, Arthur stood at the centre of his father’s plans. His death brought a grand funeral and a lasting monument, the chantry chapel covered in Tudor badges that still stands in Worcester Cathedral. These richly illustrated essays, by historians, art historians and archaeologists, investigate Arthur’s life and posthumous commemoration from every angle. They set him in the context of the fledgling Tudor regime and of the religion, art and architecture of late medieval death and memory. They close with an exploration of the re-enactment of Arthur’s funeral at Worcester in 2002, an event that sought to rescue the prince from the oblivion that has been his lot for five hundred years. CONTRIBUTORS: STEVEN GUNN, IAN ARTHURSON, FREDERICK HEPBURN, JOHN MORGAN-GUY, RALPH HOULBROOKE, MARK DUFFY, CHRIS GUY, JOHN HUNTER, LINDA MONCKTON, PHILLIP LINDLEY, JULIAN LITTEN

Part II of the State Papers Online launches

I blogged about the first part of the papers going online back in November. Libraries (particularly at universities) might have subscriptions where you can access the content. They still haven’t set up a method for individual subscriptions, but if you think you might be interested in one, please send an email to their contact listed on http://gale.cengage.co.uk/statepapers/

Here is the press release:

Jul 10, 2009 – The second of a four-part digital collection, State Papers Online Part II is among the most valuable and reliable resources for understanding Tudor and Stuart government and society. Included in this collection are the sixteenth-century Foreign, Scotland, Borders and Ireland Papers, as well as the Registers (‘minutes’) of the Privy Council, the monarch’s closest advisors. The great international themes – marriage contracts, wars and treaties, trade and commerce and, crucially, religion – play out in document after document.

Facsimile images of the correspondence written and received by the ruling monarchs, as well as those of their courtiers, administrators, judges and clergy, bring to life the politics, diplomacy, culture and society of Tudor times. Researchers and students can now read in Elizabeth I’s own hand, her efforts to appease the Ottoman Sultan Murad III (“We beg that you will not … lose your respect for our good faith”). Also revealed in this collection are Elizabeth’s views on her on/off engagement to the Duke of Anjou (“…if we only regarded our love to him we should readily assent to it”) and on Mary, Queen of Scots’ trial and execution “which cannot but be grievous to me”.

Dr. Natalie Mears at the University of Durham comments, “State Papers Online Part I has been an invaluable asset. I’ve been able to search, download and print a range of orders, letters, and drafts of prayers for the early period without having to travel to London. I’m looking forward to the release of Part II as I’ll be able to access all the material on the Spanish Armada in the Foreign Series. Its going to be wonderful to show undergraduate and graduate students authentic documents: there will be so much more for them to work on for dissertations, as well as seeing what the originals look like of the modern printed letters we analyse in class.”

Caroline Kimbell, Head of Licensing at The National Archives, says, “The State Papers are The National Archives’ bedrock early modern collection, and represent the authentic, original workings of government at the birth of the modern state. Cengage Learning is to be congratulated for building such an innovative online environment in which to read, search, share and collaborate in research not just on the well-known domestic records, but on this further set of more challenging foreign material. We are proud to have facilitated the project”.

By reuniting the State Papers together online and linking them to the calendars of the Papers themselves, Gale and The National Archives have created a completely new resource for understanding the two hundred years from the time of Cardinal Wolsey to the Age of Enlightenment. Gale’s specially developed platform links the original historical manuscripts to fully searchable calendar entries, simplifying the process of research and interpretation of these key historical materials. Users can carry out searches with limiters, view illustrations and maps, magnify or rotate documents and view two manuscripts or calendar entries side-by-side to draw comparisons.

The transcription of long, handwritten prose typical of the Tudor era can be both time-consuming and complex. To help historians transcribe more quickly and accurately, Cengage Learning has introduced a notepad-style tool which allows individuals to prepare their notes alongside the historical document without the need to toggle between different screens and applications.

Mark Holland, Publisher at Cengage Learning, comments: “With Part II, we are publishing the enormously important ‘Foreign’ section of the State Papers: the letters between the English government and European powers at a time when England was at the centre of international affairs, and events here had repercussions across Europe”.

Due to be released in four stages, Parts I and II of State Papers Online are now live and cover the complete collection of Tudor State Papers Domestic and State Papers Foreign, Ireland, Scotland, Borders and Registers of the Privy Council as well as State Papers in the British Library’s Cotton, Harley and Yelverton Collections. Parts III and IV containing the Seventeenth Century State Papers Domestic, Foreign, Ireland, Registers of the Privy Council will follow in 2010 and 2011.

For further information about State Papers Online, please contact Nicholas Berg at Gale, part of Cengage Learning, Tel: +44 (0) 1264 342 785, E-mail: nicholas.berg@cengage.com or visit the web site at http://gale.cengage.co.uk/statepapers

# # #

About Cengage Learning and Gale

Cengage Learning delivers highly customized learning solutions for colleges, universities, professors, students, libraries, government agencies, corporations and professionals around the world. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, serves the world’s information and education needs through its vast and dynamic content pools, which are used by students and consumers in their libraries, schools and on the Internet. It is best known for the accuracy, breadth and convenience of its data, addressing all types of information needs – from homework help to health questions to business profiles – in a variety of formats. For more information, visit www.cengage.com or www.gale.com

Picture of the Week #26

Harlech Castle, North Wales. May 2000.

This one is only tangentially related to Tudor history, but I wanted to use another picture of a cool Welsh castle. Harlech castle is one of the ring of fortresses around north Wales built in the late 13th century by King Edward I of England. In the 15th century is was a stronghold of the Lancastrian forces during the Wars of the Roses.