Henry VIII and the Field of the Cloth of Gold – Gillian White

In June 1520 the king of France and the king of England met in a field outside Calais to celebrate peace.

The celebrations that accompanied this meeting have become known as The Field of Cloth of Gold because of their extravagance and luxury, a magnificence captured in the famous painting at Hampton Court.

Textiles, armour, goldsmiths’ work, painting and even a dazzling temporary palace were all called upon to impress the watching world.

The diplomatic negotiations were ultimately worthless but for Henry VIII and François I it was a chance to compete for honour and glory. This lecture explores the history and especially the artistry of this magnificent yet futile event.

Dr Gillian White specialises in the visual arts of late medieval and sixteenth-century England. She formerly worked for the National Trust as Curator and Collections Manager at Hardwick Hall, about which she then wrote her PhD at Warwick University. She now teaches part-time at Leicester University, predominantly in The Centre for the Study of the Country House, and is involved with the Continuing Education Department at Oxford University, as well as freelance lecturing.

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