England under the Tudors and Stuarts experienced profound political, religious and cultural changes.During this tempestuous epoch, many skilled artists travelled from Europe to England, witnessing and creating the splendours of the age.
The Florentine sculptor Pietro Torrigiano and portrait painters such as Hans Holbein, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger and Sir Anthony van Dyck were pre-eminent among a succession of European artists who worked under royal and noble patronage during the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. Their art revealed the magnificence and sophistication of the English Court against a turbulent backdrop of Reformation, Civil War and the Restoration. Artisans from Europe included Huguenot silversmiths, upholsterers and weavers of silks and tapestries. Others were clock makers, book binders, delftware potters and glass blowers. From Henry VII to Queen Anne, the spirit of this age of transition was expressed in art and interiors, in splendour and luxury.
Lecture 1: Art for the Tudors
England encountered the art of the Italian Renaissance through the work of the Florentine Renaissance sculptors Pietro Torrigiano and Benedetto da Rovezzano. Torrigiano's impressive portrait bust of Henry VII reveals the monarch's tense and pensive countenance whilst the four bronze Wolsey Angels by da Rovezzano combine gracefulness and poise. Aware of the power of portraiture as a representation of status, wealth and sophistication and as a means of political propaganda, successive Tudor monarchs patronised talented artists including the King's Painter Hans Holbein the Younger and the Netherlandish artists Anthonis Mor, William Scrots and Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. The lecture will also consider the little-known Estonian portrait painter Michel Sittow as well as the Flemish artist Levina Teerlinc who, as court painter to the Tudors, developed the art of miniature painting in England.
Lecture 2: Art for the Stuarts
The lecture follows the well-trodden path of lecture 1, looking at European artists who made their mark at the English Court from the Jacobean era to the reign of Queen Anne. They include the miniaturist Isaac Oliver, born to a Huguenot family and apprenticed to the English miniaturist Nicholas Hillard. Also John de Critz who was the son of a Protestant goldsmith from Antwerp. Sir Peter Paul Rubens famously painted the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall whilst the bravura of his pupil Sir Anthony van Dyck was admired in equal measure by both Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. Van Dyck's portraits represent monarchical authority yet are tinged with an indefinable aura of fragility. After the Restoration, Michael Dahl, Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller captured the glamour, flamboyance and charisma of the later Stuart court and courtiers.
Lecture 3: Decorative Arts and Interiors
The lecture takes inspiration from a close study of a portrait miniature of 'Sir Thomas More, his Household and Descendants' in the V&A Museum. Attributed to Rowland Lockey and created c.1593-4, it is a copy of a lost original painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1527, during the lifetime of Sir Thomas More. The figures are seated in a richly appointed interior with a walled garden visible through an Italianate arch. We look at the variety of objects displayed in the painting: fine silks and velvets, furniture, cushions and upholstery, wall-hangings, stained glass, book-bindings, armour, clocks and metalwork. In all of these fields, innovative European artists and artisans created outstanding work in Tudor and Stuart England.
Anne is a lecturer at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Queen’s Gallery. She is a visiting lecturer for Regent's University, Sotheby's Institute and SOAS. Since 2008, she has been a member of the London faculty of Eckerd College, Florida, teaching Art History and is also an accredited Arts Society lecturer. For ten years she guided private evening tours of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. She lectures extensively for private groups, guides museum tours in London and has lectured on William Morris for the British Council and British Higher School of Art and Design in Moscow.
After studying Modern History at Durham University, she trained and became a senior specialist in ceramics at the head offices in London of Bonhams (1981-1986) and Christie's (1987-1995). From 1995 to 2002, she was resident in Shanghai, China and gave lectures on the history of the China trade and European Chinoiserie to the international community of diplomats and expatriates in Shanghai and Beijing. On returning to London in 2002, she worked on a short project cataloguing Chinese ceramics at Kensington Palace and became Hon Membership Secretary and Treasurer of the French Porcelain Society.