Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Henry VIII - The British Library

Went to a wonderful exhibition today about Henry VIII - at the British Library. The Library is well worth a visit. It's a very 'user-friendly' - place.

I'm very interested in historical portraits, many of which, in this exhibition, hadn't been seen before, and almost like looking through a family's photo album - you can put a face to Henry's parents, siblings, his wives, of course - and many other important personages in this period. (You can also check on family resemblances!)

There are love letters from Henry to Anne Boleyn and many historical documents and artefacts to browse. Politically this was not an easy time in which to live, with strong religious differences from north to south, but my interest lay in the creative side of their lives and I found the costume detail in the paintings just as fascinating as the actual history.

Catherine of Aragon - divorced - (but not according to some!)
Mother of Queen Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary)
Catherine was married to Henry for 24 yrs.

Anne Boleyn - married - (but not according to others!) - beheaded (poor thing) - Mother of Queen Elizabeth I

Jane Seymour - bore him the son Henry wanted, Edward, but she died shortly after the prince was born.

Anne of Cleves - Henry didn't like her one bit and kindly set her up in another palace -
a goodlie distance away!

Kathryn Howard - was rather flirty - beheaded too.

Katherine Parr - she seemed to give him some stability and outlived him.

More info. on The Wives

Elizabethan Embroidery link 1.
Elizabethan Embroidery Link 2.


Cathy said...

Very interesting post Shirley. I agree with you about the fascination of period costumes. When you see the amazing detail, embroidery and beadwork on dresses in the past, especially Elizabethan. It must have taken their seamstresses weeks to hard labour to make them. I hope they were well paid. Even their gloves were heavily embroidered and beaded. I am a bit envious of their dramatic and wonderful headresses too. I particularly like the picture of Catherine of Aragon. Wouldn't it be amazing to wear something like that these days - occasionally that is...ha ha. That orange man's costume is wonderful. I thought it was a modern dress until I saw your description.

BeadBag said...

Cathy I love these portraits. (Do you think we can tell what they may have been like from their faces?!)
You're right in the portraits of Elizabeth I and also the men's costumes are just amazing.