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Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court
     

Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court

by Thomas P. Campbell
 

Luxurious, beautiful, and portable, tapestry was the pre-eminent art form of the Tudor court. Henry VIII amassed an unrivaled collection over the course of his reign, and the author weaves the history of this magnificent collection into the life of its owner with an engaging narrative style. Now largely dispersed or destroyed, Henry’s extensive inventory is

Overview

Luxurious, beautiful, and portable, tapestry was the pre-eminent art form of the Tudor court. Henry VIII amassed an unrivaled collection over the course of his reign, and the author weaves the history of this magnificent collection into the life of its owner with an engaging narrative style. Now largely dispersed or destroyed, Henry’s extensive inventory is here reassembled and reveals how, through tapestry, Henry identified himself with historic, religious, and mythological figures, putting England in dialogue—and competition—with the leading courts of Early Modern Europe while promoting his own religious and political agendas at home. Campbell’s original account sheds new light on Tudor political and artistic culture and the court’s response to Renaissance aesthetic ideals. Sumptuously illustrated with newly commissioned photographs, this stunning re-creation of Europe’s greatest tapestry collection challenges the predominantly text-driven histories of the period and offers a fascinating new perspective on the life of Henry VIII.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

"This thoroughly researched study provides a welcome infusion of scholarly rigor into a field that has suffered from a bias toward fine arts at the expense of decorative arts. An important contribution to scholarship, it is among the best in its genre. . . . Essential."—Choice
School Library Journal

Campbell (supervising curator, Ratti Textile Ctr., Metropolitan Museum of Art) is well versed in tapestries. Author of several other monographs on the subject, he has certainly laid a firm foundation for scholarly inquiry into this artistic medium. Tapestries are a difficult subject because they are more prone to wear and tear than other art forms and because they have been the topic of a connoisseur-based debate surrounding fine arts versus decorative arts. For example, Henry VIII's collection was described as magnificent, having many "arras," or tapestries utilizing gold-woven threads, and greatly exceeded other collections of its time, both secular and papal. However, 95 percent of it was dispersed, some owing to historic events and some to a lack of interest in tapestries as a fine art; only 30 pieces remain today. Through meticulous research, Campbell employs tapestries to illuminate the mindset of the king and to weigh the effects of historic events like the Renaissance and the Reformation on the king and his country. That these tapestries have been used past the death of Henry VIII into modern times accentuates the need for more concerted efforts toward preservation. Recommended for libraries supporting scholarly research.
—Nadine Dalton Speidel Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300122343
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
09/15/2007
Series:
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
440
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas P. Campbell is Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and Supervising Curator of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is the principal author of Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002) and editor of Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (see page 29).

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