Blog

Subjects for discussion

“Art is the Conscience of a Nation”, or why the study of the history of art is important.

Two years ago history of art was removed as an 'A'-level option in the English education syllabus, so I was delighted to hear on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that free online courses will be available on YouTube.  These have been created by a former curator of the Courtauld Institute (the number one institute… Continue reading “Art is the Conscience of a Nation”, or why the study of the history of art is important.

Portraiture

A Portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in the NPG, London.

On International Women's Day I am asking you to consider the life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), wife of the British Ambassador to Turkey 1716-18, medical pioneer, adventurer and prolific letter writer. After their time in Constantinople the Wortley Montagu's returned to England, but left England again in 1739, not returning until the 1760s.… Continue reading A Portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in the NPG, London.

Illuminated manuscripts, Uncategorized

Illuminated manuscripts fit for a King

In the British Library we have a collection of illuminated manusripts that are as important to our national culture as the history of battles won and lost by kings long gone. Gifts by George II and George III form the core of the British Library known as the King’s Stack. George II gave 2000 volumes,… Continue reading Illuminated manuscripts fit for a King

Uncategorized

Book Review: La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor – Her Life in Letters by Sarah Bryson

Sarah Bryson has brought this less well known Tudor princess to life.  Using the surviving letters of Mary Tudor we are drawn into the world of a Tudor princess who was initially used as a political pawn.  The book begins with a description of  Mary's childhood up to 1515 when she was married off to the… Continue reading Book Review: La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor – Her Life in Letters by Sarah Bryson

Symbols and emblems

The Plantagenet literary legacy and the early Tudor use of visual propaganda

When Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York in January 1486, it was not only the unifying of two warring noble house, but the birth of a new artistic age. Queen Elizabeth was the daughter Edward IV whose collection of books formed the first Royal Library now housed in the British Library. Edward was an avid… Continue reading The Plantagenet literary legacy and the early Tudor use of visual propaganda

Portraiture

How we know the Movers & Shakers of Tudor Society

How does a 21st century audience recognise the shakers and movers of Tudor society? Clearly those historians who immerse themselves in documents will have a feel for the way they believe these men and women thought.   Combine that with the use of the portrait as a propoganda tool and suddenly these influential people are no… Continue reading How we know the Movers & Shakers of Tudor Society