Lot 109

The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover, 1520


The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover, 1520. 27 x 49 ins., (69 x 104 cms.), a companion piece to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. This is a fine impression from the 1988 edition. It can only be described as the ultimate 'galleons' print. In the late seventeenth century the Society of Antiquaries commissioned James Basire to celebrate Henry VIII's visit to France in 1520.from various paintings commissioned by Henry to celebrate his visit, which were hanging in Cowdray House. The copper plates he created were the largest ever used for printing and even caused special paper to be produced named Antiquarian, which had to be delivered from Maidstone by barge to Londion. Among the apprentices working for Basire was a young William Blake. It would be wonderful to think he may have had a part in completing this plate. The original plate was used again for this edition for the benefit of the Society of Antiquaries' members, who commissioned Newington Frith to undertake the project. The target was an edition of 400, but only a hundred or so were printed, so this colour print is rare. Only a very small number were coloured largely because it was a tremendous task colouring all the figures and items in the picture by hand. This is a magnificent work and is celebrating an event heading for its quincentennial very shortly. As an historical aside, Henry was showing off his wealth and status to the French and other courts by his visit to the Field of the Cloth of Gold to meet Francis Ist. His father had been an astute businessman and left Henry in a strong financial position. In life so often the father makes the money and the son spends the money. It was time to show off in his eyes. Later he gained huge wealth from the dissolution of the monasteries. Henry was to own 55 palaces, present day billionaires take note. On this occasion Henry's largest ships were not used, because Dover harbour was too silted up to permit their entry. Henry actually sailed on the much smaller specially built Katherine Pleasaunce. He was not best pleased. This massively expensive jaunt actually achieved very little except increase Henry's ego. Additional Photographs: Charles Newington 'pulling' the print, Charles's assistant inking up and Mrs. Sedgwick colouring the print.

Auction Date: February 2018


£1000 - £1500

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