Events Calendar
Jun 8
10:00 - 13:00
Empowering Images: Tudor to Jacobean Portraiture
Short courses at Medway

Study morning: 8 June 2019

Saturday: 10:00 - 13:00

Location: Medway Campus

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The iconic pictures of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I dominate our image of the Tudor reign but fashionable portraiture of the wealthy during this period, and into the reign of James I, developed dramatically. Discover the importance and historical legacy of the era's magnificent individual, family and political portraits. The walls of many of England's galleries, such as the National Portrait Gallery in London, museums, stately homes and aristocratic Tudor houses are hung with the glorious portraits and paintings which reflect and reveal to us the vibrant years from Henry VIII's accession to the throne through the rule of Elizabeth to the reign of James I. 

The development of portraiture from 1500 to 1625 was significant and increasingly popular for wealthy men and women outside of court circles. Portraits of merchants, politicians, artists and writers abound as many aspiring individuals commissioned paintings of themselves. These important images illuminate our appreciation of the past by showing us what was worn by the features of sumptuous fabrics and jewellery; culturally we can begin to evaluate different and changing styles; we can determine political, economic and social contexts from the backgrounds to these portraits or the nature of their composition. 

Long galleries in aristocratic houses became fashionable as display became a significant feature in the wealthy's endeavour to impress and portraits were used as a means of enhancing status as well as leaving an enduring legacy as to how these individuals wished to be remembered. The focus of this lecture is to explore the portraits, consider the artists and their techniques, to help our historical understanding and to fire the imagination by seeing these portraits in an exciting light.

About the tutor

Julia Cruse has a PhD in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and has taught undergraduates at the University of Kent. As a mature student she graduated from the University of Kent with a degree in History; her BA dissertation focused on the Paston letters. Her doctoral thesis continued her research into late medieval letter-writing and looked at gentry identity and the politics of letter-writing. She is currently developing education packages to inspire school children and young people about medieval life and history.


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University of Kent,
Chatham Maritime,
United Kingdom



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