Artists of Northern Europe, Illuminated manuscripts, poetry and portraiture

The Annunciation

In Christmas week our focus is on the birth of Christ on Christmas day, but the story really starts nine months earlier with the visitation of an angel to a young woman.  The angel is Gabriel, who reveals to a young woman called Mary that she has been chosen by God and will bear a… Continue reading The Annunciation

Artists of Northern Europe, Symbols and emblems

Hampton Court Chapel – sung Eucharist by Thomas Tallis

On a chilly November Sunday night the congregation of the chapel royal at Hampton Court Palace experienced a religious service last held over 400 years ago during the reign of Mary Tudor when the form of liturgy used in the royal chapels was the Catholic Use of Sarum. Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), Gentleman of the Chapel… Continue reading Hampton Court Chapel – sung Eucharist by Thomas Tallis

Artists of Northern Europe, portrait miniature, Portraiture

Thomas Cromwell (1495-1540): Creator of the “Tudor Brand”

In case you missed it, this article first appeared on in July 2018 in commemoration of the execution of Thomas Cromwell on 28th July 1540. Today we are used to seeing the English royals on TV, in photos on social media, and on the front of our newspapers. Back in the 16th century the royal… Continue reading Thomas Cromwell (1495-1540): Creator of the “Tudor Brand”

Artists of Northern Europe, Portraiture, Symbols and emblems

Albrecht Dürer : The Master of self-promotion

The dawn of the sixteenth century saw the portrait being used more widely for self-promotional purposes thanks to one man - Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Albrecht Dürer sketched himself from the from the age of thirteen and as an adult, completing at least three individual self-portraits during his lifetime. The very first of these was a silverpoint… Continue reading Albrecht Dürer : The Master of self-promotion

Exhibitions, Portraiture, Symbols and emblems

The Armada Portrait Reconsidered.

The portrait of Elizabeth I known as the Armada Portrait was saved for the nation thanks to contributions from a generous public and a huge donation from the Art Fund. It has now been fully restored and hangs in The Queen’s House, Greenwich.  It is one of three portraits that clearly derive from the same… Continue reading The Armada Portrait Reconsidered.

Books, Interviews, Uncategorized

An Interview with Sarah Bryson

I have been interested in Sarah Bryson's work ever since I met her in September 2016. She has been researching Charles Brandon, Henry VIII's brother-in-law and Henry's sister, Mary Tudor for the past ten or so years. This February her book La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor - her life in letters, was published by Amberley… Continue reading An Interview with Sarah Bryson

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.