Tudor Collections and Collectors

Much Tudor art may not have been 'home-grown' but its form and subject matter tells us a great deal about England's 'natural rulers'.

The Tudor age did not see the ascendancy of large numbers of native artists of renown: foreign practitioners, of whom Hans Holbein was the most distinguished, tended to dominate, and successful English painters, such as the miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard, were in the minority. The humanist Sir Thomas Elyot lamented in his The Boke named the Governour of 1531 that the English were 'constrayned, if we wyll have any thinge well paynted, kerved, or embrawdred, to abandone our own countraymen and resorte unto straugners'. Yet Elyot's concern is also a significant indication of the growing interest in collecting works of art in Tudor England, an interest which is often under-estimated, particularly as far as the earlier period is concerned.

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