Henry VIII and Elizabeth I: Tudors through Art with Hattie Bennett - Context Travel

Henry VIII and Elizabeth I: Tudors through Art with Hattie Bennett


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In this talk, we will delve into the world of the Tudors. From Henry VIII's writing desk to Wolsey's angels to Holbein's masterpiece The Ambassadors we will be discussing painting, sculpture, and personal objects associated with Henry and his court. This talk will focus on Tudor art from the National Gallery, the Victoria Albert, and the National Portrait Gallery.

We will begin in the National Gallery with one of the most ambitious paintings by Holbein, the double portrait of the French Ambassadors, painted in 1533, the year of the birth of Elizabeth I. A tour de force in portraiture the painting also includes astonishingly observed scientific objects and textiles. It also includes a mysterious image of immortality, hidden in the paint. The National Gallery collection also includes a portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam, a prospective bride for Henry VIII, and the portrait of an enigmatic unknown English woman.

The Victoria and Albert Museum houses numerous sculptures associated with the Tudor court. Most show the influence of renaissance Italy with a terracotta bust of Henry VII by Michelangelo's great rival Torrigiano and four beautiful angels by Benedetto da Rovezzano commissioned by Wolsey for an elaborate tomb. Also at the V&A is an intricate silver-gilt reliquary designed by Hans Holbein's father showing the martyred St Sebastian.

The V & A also houses objects associated with Tudors including a writing desk decorated with motifs associated with the King and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, a whistle reputed to have been owned by Anne Boleyn, and jewelry associated with Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth 1. Finally, we will look at the miniature as an art form with examples by the first woman artist recorded as working in the English court, Levinia Terlinc, who served four Tudor monarchs and who was paid more than Hans Holbein.

Led by Art Historian Hattie Bennett, this interactive seminar will unpick the narrative of a particular episode in Tudor history with the aid of key portraits. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a true understanding of the iconography of court painting and the Tudors.

Hattie has a degree in History of Art and an MA in Historic Interiors, she has a life-long passion and fascination in Fine and Decorative Arts, particularly works produced in Europe from the 16th to 18th century. After working for the Royal Collection in the Print Room at Windsor Castle, she was a curator for a private collector of 17th and 18th-century prints and drawings. Hattie has worked for London's foremost framer of important old master paintings during which time she sharpened her appreciation and understanding of the decorative arts and the changing tastes of collecting. Recently she has been dealing in prints and works of art as well as taking groups of all ages to museums and galleries.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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