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King and Collector

Henry VIII and the Art of Kingship

by Siobhan Clarke

Monday 22nd January 2024

No English king is as well-known to us as Henry VIII. He is famous for six marriages, breaking with the Pope, dissolving the monasteries and creating the Church of England; and for his ruthless elimination of those who stood in his way.  But he was also an enthusiastic patron of the arts whose palaces, tapestries and paintings enriched the Tudor court and began the Royal Collection. The forces that influenced Henry’s life can be seen in the works he commissioned, by artists such as Pietro Torrigiano, Hans Holbein and Giralomo da Treviso. They tell us much about his kingship and (unintentionally) his insecurities. Ultimately, each of the works contained some aspect of one central story: the glorification of Henry and his England.


Siobhan Clarke has worked for Historic Royal Palaces for 20 years delivering tours and lectures on Hampton Court, Kensington, the Tower of London and the Banqueting House. Her experience includes education sessions and tours for schools, universities, corporate and private clients.  

She has lectured for the British Museum, National Trust, U3A, Arts Society and Smithsonian and has featured on BBC Radio Women's Hour and Television's Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace. Her published work includes: A Tudor Christmas, in collaboration with Alison Weir, (2018), The Tudors: The Crown, The Dynasty, The Golden Age with Linda Collins (2019), King and Collector: Henry VIII and the Art of Kingship (2021) and she is currently working on Gloriana: Elizabeth I and the Art of Queenship.

Siobhan Clarke
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