The Tudors: Power, Passion and Politics edited by Charlotte Bolland is the introductory text to a two venue National Portrait Gallery Tudor exhibition - one in The Holborn Museum, Bath, the other at The Walker Art Gallery , Liverpool - while the National Portrait Gallery is closed for refurbishment.
Physically it is a compact book with clear readable text with chapters on various aspects of the Tudor court its times and its influences for example: The King’s Court - considers the power structure of Henry VIII’s court, Queenship – looks at the challenges Mary and Elizabeth had to become and remain as Queen, Empire – traces the start of England’s empire with Ireland as Henry VIII took control over it.
Each chapter ends with a commentary piece on a specific aspect of the chapter. The King’s Court ends with a piece from Kate Donoghue on Walter Hungerford and the 1533 Buggery Act describing how the Act was used to bring down the authority of the Catholic Church.
The John Blanke Project is the commentary piece to the chapter – A New Dynasty – which discusses Henry VIII need to integrate his ‘fledgling dynasty into the networks of European monarchies’, demonstrated by the ‘extravagant enactment of his chivalric prowess’ as depicted on The Great Tournament Roll of Westminster.
The piece on the Project considers Insights into John Blanke’s Image from the John Blanke Project there are four insights discussed: A Remarkable Portrait, Accepting Difference, John Blanke’s Namesakes and Black British History and John Blanke, supported by presence of Stephen B. Whatley’s drawing Tribute to John Blanke.
The Tudors: Power, Passion and Politics is very readable, accessible book and what makes it particularity approachable is its use of images – portraits, maps and diagrams – the book is packed with images almost every other page has an image. There are many of the well known portraits for which the Tudors are renowned but there many others not so well known personalities such as the pirate Henry Strangeways. A very useful introductory text into the Tudors and their times.
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