The King's Glass: A Story of Tudor Power and Secret Art

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Random House, Mar 30, 2010 - Art - 256 pages
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Each year more than 250,000 people visit the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge, one of Europe's best-known buildings. This book tells the untold story of the Chapel's crowning glory, its stained glass windows, and of the people who created them - the triumphant culmination of a project completed despite wars, the death of kings and violent religious conflict.

The glass symbolises the power of the Tudors, and is a mirror of their souls. Planned by Henry VII and continued by Henry VIII, the windows are dynastic propaganda, simultaneously blatant and subtle. The windows show how Henry commemorated his wives in art, then airbrushed them out when they fell from favour, and how he recruited leading artists to make this England's response to the Sistine Chapel.

The great 'King's Glass' also flaunts the skills of its makers, many of them innovative immigrants. It is a tale of guilds and artisans as well as of the court. It is, too, a history of England, reflecting change, conflict and modernity in the sixteenth century.

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About the author (2010)

Carola Hicks, an acclaimed art historian, and witty, perceptive writer, died in 2010 just as she was finishing this book. Born in Sussex, Carola studied archaeology at Edinburgh University, and was an actress, journalist and House of Commons Researcher, before taking up an academic career. For several years she was curator of the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral, and then became a Fellow and Director of Studies in art history at Newnham College, Cambridge. Her books include Animals in Early Medieval Art, Improper Pursuits: The Scandalous Life of Lady Di Beauclerk, and two fine 'biographies' of works of art: The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece and Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait.

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