Artists of Northern Europe, Illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance, The Hapsburgs

Of Parrots, kings and other things!

Parrots first became european symbols of status, wealth and power when Alexander the Great is said to have brought the Indian ring necked parakeet back from India in the second century B.C. Legend has it that wild green parakeets in gardens of an Indian temple repeated the prayers chanted by the monks leading to the… Continue reading Of Parrots, kings and other things!

Illuminated manuscripts, portrait miniature, Portraiture, Renaissance, Subjects for discussion, Tudor portraiture

Monkey business at 16th century royal courts

In 1492 Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) sailed under the Spanish flag and discovered a whole new land. Six years later the Portuguese explorer, Vasco de Gama (1460 – 1524) reached India’s Malabar coast, which had been a centre of trade between Arab and far eastern merchants for at least fifteen hundred years.  Columbus’s voyage west… Continue reading Monkey business at 16th century royal courts

Artists of Northern Europe, Original Documents, portrait miniature, Portraiture, Renaissance, Royal Portraits, Tudor portraiture

How we know the Tudor Royals from 1485 – 1558; and who painted them.

A recent article in various publications (including The Smithsonian magazine), looked at Franny Moyle’s suggestion that Holbein left clues regarding the identification of one of his sitters of his miniatures being of Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Anna, Duchess of Cleves.  It is not the first time this possibility has been discussed.  Heather Darsie describes how Anna adopted the… Continue reading How we know the Tudor Royals from 1485 – 1558; and who painted them.

Baroque Artists, Exhibitions, Great Mistresses, Renaissance, Subjects for discussion, Symbols and emblems


Finally, after three hundred and fifty years, a woman artist has risen to the ranks of those artists and sculptors who are known by a single name, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Botticelli, Donatello, Rodin, Picasso – all of them men.   The work of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 - 1654/56) is currently being exhibited at… Continue reading ARTEMISIA!

Artists of Northern Europe, Books, portrait miniature, Portraiture, Renaissance, Tudor portraiture

The Cromwell Enigma – A Review

The Cromwell Enigma by Derek Wilson, published by MaryleboneHouse. When it comes to Thomas Cromwell (1485 – 1540), what more of an enigma can there be than the paucity of detail for the years he spent abroad prior to becoming the indispensable secretary to Cardinal Wolsey and then the man who administered the affairs of… Continue reading The Cromwell Enigma – A Review