Henry VIII, king of England from 1509 to 1547, is well known for lots of things. But not all people understands he was a terrific collector. For one particular point, he gathered wives. He married 6 different girls in an age exactly where divorce was generally forbidden and wives failed to cooperate by dropping lifeless on their possess very normally. The king also collected homes. He laid claim to several great homes and palaces, together with Westminster, Berkhamsted, Fotheringhay, Warwick, Kenilworth, and some of his favorites: Greenwich, Whitehall, and Hampton Court docket. He even had Royal Residences in the Tower of London. One particular of King Henry’s greatest collections was tapestries. He at some point collected additional than 2,000 of these woven shots to spruce up Hampton Courtroom Palace and his other royal residences.
But why would the King expend a great deal of funds and electrical power to collect woven pictures to embellish his partitions? What was behind these highly-priced wall hangings?
Tapestry making was big field in northern France and southern Netherlands in the course of the Center Ages and Renaissance. Tapestry is a sort of textile artwork made by competent craftsmen. The parts were woven by hand on a weaving-loom. Weaving a tapestry necessary that each individual thread be diligently placed on the loom by hand. This painstaking procedure allowed workers to produce elaborate layouts that incorporated intricate options for men and women, animals, and crops. Commonly the chain threads were being designed out of linen or Picardy wool. The placing threads were made of Italian silk or gold and silver threads imported from Cyprus. Textile personnel and guilds flourished in Belgium and France, advertisement tapestries designed there ended up exported all in excess of Europe.
Tapestries ended up in some cases woven in sets. A set of tapestries usually informed a biblical or mythical tale through a sequence of photographs. This art in woven tapestry was meant to create illusions of what reality should really be-a extra mental, a lot more scientific, additional grand planet. This entire world could stick to the operator anywhere he went, as tapestries have been moveable and could be transported from a person residence to a further.
Wealthy and powerful adult males gathered tapestries mainly because they could seriously impress site visitors. Just before he experienced to give Hampton Courtroom to King Henry, Cardinal Wolsey sent London merchant Richard Gresham to Brussels with 1,000 marks to order the finest tapestries he could find. The Venetian ambassador told this tale of his take a look at to Wolsey: “A single has to traverse eight rooms ahead of a single reaches his viewers chamber, and they are all hung with tapestry, which is improved the moment a week” (1).
In September 1528, King Henry became displeased with Wolsey’s perform and took over Hampton Court Palace. King Henry embarked on an great rebuilding job, developing new kitchens, a Council Chamber, and a series of personal rooms for himself. In addition, Henry rebuilt the Good Corridor, which featured wonderful walls for exhibiting tapestries. To beautify Hampton Court docket and other royal residences, Henry gathered tapestries to communicate his wealth and energy. The tapestries adorned such important general public rooms as the Good Hall and the Good Viewing Chamber.
Just one of the most renowned sequence in Henry’s assortment is the Historical past of Abraham collection, which he commissioned specifically for Hampton Court. This series was woven in Brussels about 1540 by Wilhelm Pannemaker to the layouts of Bernard van Orley. The History of Abraham tapestries involve 10 separate pieces, every single of which is around sixteen toes high and 20-6 toes vast. These tapestries are of astounding quality, that includes highly competent weaving and a higher steel thread rely, with several gold and silver threads. In actuality, the amount of gold makes them a single of the most opulent products and solutions of the Brussels business.
For the reason that of the amount of gold and silver and the substantial excellent of the workmanship, each individual tapestry is estimated to have cost Henry as a lot funds as a totally fitted and staffed battleship. This indicates the entire established charge as much as a fleet of battleships. The Abraham tapestries are a superior example of King Henry’s principal intent in amassing tapestries: demonstrating his extensive prosperity to visitors from close to the world. King Henry believed these tapestries would build a optimistic impression and convince all who came to Hampton Court docket and other palaces of his kingship.
King Henry was ideal about the Abraham tapestries staying a symbol of prosperity and power. Their affect lasted substantially lengthier than Henry did. About 100 a long time just after Henry’s death, in the course of the English Revolution, revolutionaries seized regulate of the country and executed King Charles I, and Oliver Cromwell ruled as Lord Protector. Considerably of the royal home was sold to the best bidder. But the Abraham tapestries have been truly worth so considerably cash, he was unable to offer them. They remained in the possession of Oliver Cromwell at Hampton Courtroom. Like the rest of his belongings, they returned to ownership of the crown when the monarchy was restored. These tapestries have been picked to adorn the walls of Westminster Abbey at the coronation of King James II in 1685.
The choice of the Abraham tapestries, commissioned by Henry VIII in 1540, to celebrate the restoration of the monarchy far more than 100 yrs later demonstrates their significance as a image of royalty and electrical power. While Henry VIII could not have recognized their entire historic importance, he did realize the impact of tapestries on his notion as king. Hampton Courtroom Palace was a most loved residence of King Henry. He produced it a excellent symbol of his royalty and the energy of the Tudor dynasty. The impressive tapestries that adorned the palace walls in the course of his reign had been a fitting symbol of the wealth, knowledge, and royalty of King Henry VIII. For him, tapestries had been substantially more than decorations or insulation. They were literally the embodiment of his royal impression.
1. Hedley, O. (1971) Hampton Court docket Palace. London: Pitkin Pictorials.