How Significant Were European Influences on the Development of Tudor Palaces?

 How Significant Were European Influences on the Development of Tudor Palaces?


European influence on Tudor palaces cannot be measured easily, almost five hundred years of architectural history has made the evidence hard to examine in detail and much evidence has been paved over or laid to waste. In order to examine the subject in any depth the research of scholars must be examined and their interpretations of the remaining palace303  structures and artifacts assessed.

King Henry VIII himself would have had an overwhelming influence over building works of the time. He was learned, the first King of England to write, publish and print a book and he read compulsively (Steane, J. 1998, p. 207). He desired power, and perhaps wished to be more powerful than the King of France (Gosman, M. 2005, p. 138). This ambition coupled with his academic knowledge may have been used to build palaces designed to surpass their European counterparts.

Two different examples will be used to examine European influence on Tudor palaces: Hampton Court Palace and Nonsuch Palace. The impact of European influence will be evaluated alongside the proposition that the growth and power of the Henry VIII and his court was a greater shaping force on their architecture. European influences will be considered in relation to the following themes: external appearance including building materials, internal layout and the aesthetic interior. For these themes each palace will be considered in turn. Before launching into the themes, it is useful to give a brief history.

The period of the Reformation saw Henry VIII break from Rome and form his own church (Gosman, M. et al 2005). This period can be viewed as both disastrous and bountiful for architecture in England. It saw widespread destruction of ancient abbeys and priories that had stood for five centuries (Summerson, J. 1993), but it also saw Royal building work to an extent that had never been known before. By the end of his reign Henry VIII owned over fifty houses (Summerson, J. 1993). These architectural works were built on the basis of a break from Rome, and as such, it could be said that this was a factor against European influence.



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