Learning to be a Tudor

Thomas Penn examines M.J. Tucker’s article on the court of Henry VII, first published in History Today in 1969.

Young Henry VII, by a French artist (Musée Calvet, Avignon)Melvin Tucker’s essay on life at the court of Henry VII (r. 1485-1509), written more than 40 years ago, opens with a weary lament. He notes how the court of the founder of the Tudor dynasty is invariably seen as medieval, drab and miserly when set against the Renaissance sunshine of his son, Henry VIII (r. 1509-47). Writing at a time when Henry VII’s court and its culture was – with a handful of honourable exceptions – dealt with in a perfunctory way by historians, if not ignored altogether, Tucker sets out to offer a wide-ranging corrective.

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