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.
Thanks to Pen and Sword Books for sending me a copy of this to review.
I really enjoyed this book, and I thought that the conception of 100 objects that could explain Henry VIII and his reign was an interesting one. What didn’t quite work for me, however, was that they aren’t all objects – there are people like Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and whole places like Eltham Palace.
The book was generally well-researched and much of the information matched what I had read in other places. However, there were several errors which concerned me hence I would give it a 3-star rating rather than the 4-star rating I would otherwise have given. It was said at one point that Anne Boleyn was arrested in 1533 but it was actually 1536, and Margaret Beaufort was described as the Duchess of Richmond when she was actually Countess of Richmond. There were several other similar errors which made me question how much I could believe.
The way the text was written was clear and concise, easy to understand even for those not versed in Tudor history. There were a huge number of images, on almost every page, highlighting the objects described; many from the author’s own collection, which demonstrates that the research was done, and that Kendall has visited and seen many of the places and objects that he describes.
The objects are listed chronologically from Henry VIII’s birth at Greenwich Palace to his burial at Windsor Castle. Each object is accompanied by a description of the events that accompany each object through Henry VIII’s life. It’s a very interesting way to explore the king’s life.
I would recommend this to any Tudor enthusiast, but you need to be aware of the errors throughout. What is particularly interesting about this is the information about the objects rather than the general history. Really well-written and illustrated.
- Page 14 – Anne Boleyn arrested in 1533 but it should be 1536.
- Page 23 – Margaret Beaufort as Duchess of Richmond but should be Countess of Richmond.
- Page 56 – James VI of Scotland killed at Flodden but should be James IV.
- Page 144 – Henry VIII and Jane Seymour married on 20th May but actually betrothed on 20th and married on 30th May.
- Page 184 – Mark Seaton, should be Mark Smeaton.
- Page 208 – Smeaton was hanged but he was actually beheaded.
- Page 265 – Anne of Cleves betrothed to the Marquis of Lorraine, but it was actually the Duke of Lorraine.
- Page 285 – Katherine Howard having an affair with Culpeper aided by Lady Rochford in 1533 but should be 1541.
- Page 296 – Katherine Howard taken to the Tower in 1532 but should be 1542.
- Page 329 – Henry VIII died on 8 January 1547 but should be 28 January 1547.
Talk at Whitley Bay Playhouse on 6th May 2018
- In the early 16th century typography was introduced
- Representational painting explains why we are so interested in the Tudors – we knew what they looked like
- Images make things real
- Henry VIII is at the centre of England’s history – England different after Henry VIII
- The Reformation was the greatest change between the Norman conquest and the present day, Reformation partly undoes the conquest
- English Channel not a barrier but a means of communication
- Easy to invade England with her natural harbours
- Henry VII sailed from Honfleur in 1485 – French invasion with tactics, ships, money and army Continue reading “David Starkey – Henry VIII: the First Brexiteer” →
Greenwich Palace no longer stands, but it was the birthplace of Henry VIII, as well as both of his daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I. It used to be known as the Palace of Placentia and was built in 1433 by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, in the reign of the pious King Henry VI. The Palace fell into disrepute during the English Civil War, and was later demolished and replaced with the Greenwich Hospital (now the Old Royal Naval College) in the late 17th century.
Eltham Palace was the childhood home of Henry VIII and was built in 1295. Henry stayed here even as Prince of Wales, rather than go to Ludlow. At one point, it was bigger even than Hampton Court Palace. Even as Henry got older and when he became king, he continued to prize Eltham, putting some of its features into Hampton Court, and he remodelled Eltham itself 1519-22. Only small sections now remain as it fell into disrepute after Henry’s death. Continue reading “Potted History of Tudor Palaces” →