Thanks to Pen & Sword for a copy of this book to review.
I’ve previously read Paul Kendall’s book ‘Henry VIII in 100 Objects’ which I really enjoyed. Both that one of this goes through 100 different places and objects from the life of each of the monarchs. This book on Elizabeth I covers books, tombs, palaces, statues, paintings, and engravings. Her reign is often seen as a Golden Age, and this book covers everything from her birth and childhood to her imprisonment under her sister, Mary, her accession to the throne, through rebellions and the Spanish Armada, to her death in 1603.
The book is structured chronologically with plenty of images scattered in each of the 100 sections. Each section is only a couple of pages long at most, and each one has at least one image, meaning over 100 images throughout the book. It’s obviously well-researched and many of the photos are author’s own, so the author has obviously travelled to see many of the places and objects described throughout.
For anyone who is already primed on Elizabethan history this may be a little simple in its execution, but there are interesting tit-bits of information scattered throughout anyway that you may not know, related particularly to some of the most obscure objects discussed.
It’s almost like having a guide if you were travelling around to see these things. The story of each of the objects and places goes on past the Tudor era to see how they ended up where they did and in the condition they did. It’s an absolutely fascinating take on Elizabeth’s life and reign through the things that she interacted with, some on a daily basis.
Thank you to The History Press for a copy of this book to review.
This book is the first one I’ve read of this type, looking at the Elizabethan age through portraiture, including the more famous Coronation, Rainbow, and Armada portraits, and the lesser-known Pelican and miniature portraits. Also includes portraits of people of the Elizabethan age like Walter Raleigh, William Shakespeare, and Robert Dudley.
It is divided into digestible sections covering different parts of Elizabeth’s life and reign, in largely chronological order, though with dives in and out of the lives of Elizabeth’s courtiers and favourites. There are lots of implications raised about the portraits, and what little things you might overlook could mean, whether it’s a gift from a courtier trying to curry favour through jewels, or the symbolism of a flower, hourglass, or animal that appears.
It’s not a biography of Elizabeth I but an art history, looking at the life and reign of Elizabeth through the portraiture. It clearly links the portraits to different parts of her life and reign, giving the context of how the portraits link to different periods of her life, and how the imagery changes over her life.
A must-have for any fans or academics of the Elizabethan era because it looks at the age from a new perspective and can offer plenty of insights into self-fashioning, image, and power. It was utterly fascinating and so well-researched.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how short this book was, that it managed to cram in so much detail. There are so many little details throughout the book that I didn’t expect. It’s a great introduction to the reign of Mary I, and especially her role in the Catholic Counter-Reformation in England in the 1550s. There is lots of detail about the Protestant martyrs of her reign who I didn’t really know much about to be honest, but I do now!
I especially enjoyed the introductory section about Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, and the section about Thomas Cranmer’s recantation and execution. John Foxe’s book lists many of the people who were killed under Mary I as Protestant martyrs, and their beliefs and executions are covered in a surprising amount of detail. I haven’t yet got around to reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, just dipping in and out for assignments and blog posts, but this makes me want to spend more time with it.
Amy Licence, Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville: a True Romance (Stroud: Amberley Publishing, 2016) ISBN 978-1-4456-3678-8
First off, apologies, Amy, for being so tardy on my review when you so kindly sent me a review copy! I wanted to get it just right.
I first fell in love with Amy Licence’s writing after reading her book ‘In Bed with the Tudors’. She has a knack of writing in a different way about things that have been written before, but she can make it seem completely new and exciting.
It’s only relatively recently that I’ve developed an interest in the Wars of the Roses. I’ve generally thought it too complicated, but it is books like this one that have helped to change my mind – it’s engaging and gives you the basics without feeling like you’re back in school!
Charles Brandon and his ward – Charles Brandon married his ward, Katherine Brooke, but in reality she was Katherine Willoughby. On TV, Charles married Katherine in 1532, but in reality they didn’t marry until after Anne Boleyn’s coronation, in 1534.
Assassination attempt – According to the TV show, Pope Paul III organised an assassination attempt against Anne Boleyn before her coronation. In reality he wasn’t even elected until after her coronation, and there is no evidence for an assassination attempt.
For this post analysing the speech made by Elizabeth I at Tilbury in Essex before the Spanish Armada in 1588, I have used a copy taken from the British Library website (http://www.bl.uk/learning/timeline/item102878.html), which is also written below.
“My loving people,
We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.
I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm: to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.
I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.”
J.L. Laynesmith, The Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445-1503 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), Paperback, ISBN 978-0-199-27956-2
Title: The lives of the last Medieval Queens – this book looks at Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville and Elizabeth of York. However, I think it could also have done with looking more at Jacquetta of Luxembourg and Margaret Beaufort because, although they weren’t Queens, sometimes they almost had the same power as them, and definitely influenced the Queens themselves.
Preface: The introduction gives a broad overview of the lives of the women, and why these particular women are so fascinating. It gives a brief rundown of their lives, and how they link to each other. It also introduces other people who influenced the lives of the Queens and the monarchy, like the Earl of Warwick the “kingmaker”, the Duke of York, the Earl of Salisbury, the children of the queens, and the kings that the queens were married to. Continue reading “Book Review – ‘The Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445-1503’ by J.L. Laynesmith”→
Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin and Michael Jones, The Women of the Cousins’ War: the Duchess, the Queen and the King’s Mother (London: Simon and Schuster Ltd, 2011), Hardback, ISBN 978-0-85720-177-5
Title: Although the book is called The Women of the Cousins’ War, the book only examines a few of them – Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. It doesn’t look at Margaret of Anjou or Anne Neville in a lot of detail. Nevertheless, a good study of those it does examine in detail.
Names: Elizabeth Tudor / Elizabeth I / Virgin Queen / Gloriana / Good Queen Bess
Titles: Lady Elizabeth / Princess / Queen of England, Ireland and France / Supreme Governor of the Church of England
Dates: 7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603
Parents: Henry VIII 1491-1547 & Anne Boleyn 1501-1536
Siblings: Edward VI 1537-1553 & Mary I 1518-1558 (half-siblings)
Noble Connections: Elizabeth’s father was Henry VIII, her siblings were Edward VI and Mary I. Her grandfather was the Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde, and her great-uncle was the Duke of Norfolk. Her mother was the Marquess of Pembroke in her own right.
Titles: Princess of Wales / Lady Mary / Queen of England, Ireland and France / Queen of Spain
Dates: 18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558
Spouse: Philip II of Spain 1527-1598
Parents: Henry VIII 1491-1547 & Katherine of Aragon 1485-1536
Siblings: Elizabeth I 1533-1603 & Edward VI 1537-1553 (half-siblings)
Noble Connections: Mary was the grand-daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. She was also the cousin of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Her governess was the Countess of Salisbury, and her godparents included the Duchess of Norfolk and the Countess of Devon.