24 September 2014 – 18 March 2015
The Tudors have become the most glamorous and mythologised of English dynasties but they ruled England for barely 100 years. In just 3 generations, this upstart clan not only produced some of the more dramatic personalities and legends of the monarchy but took the country from the Middle Ages into the great artistic “rebirth” of the Continent, from stained glass and manuscripts for Henry VII to Renaissance portraits for his son and grandchildren, from militaristic fortresses to sumptuous architectural stage sets for the choreography of display. In an age of intense religious conflict, church commissions were followed by the destruction of monasteries and their heritage and, as successive rulers impose their allegiances on the people, the arts trumpeted their chosen Faiths. For the monarchy, paintings by Holbein, Horenbout and Hilliard and palaces to overawe European rivals transmitted the Tudor message and became prestige models which transformed the face of England.