History 331, Block 6, 2004

Topics in European History: Henry VIII

History 331





In-class Project

Final Exam

Extra Credit

History Dept.

Christine's other Cornell courses

In-class Project
Friday 6 February (answers due no later than Monday 9 February)

Directions: In small groups you will have approximately one hour to analyze each of two engravings (of original paintings) representing one of the major diplomatic events of Henry VIII's reign - his meeting with Francis I at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Discuss your answers for the questions as a group, but draw your own conclusions (there is not always one correct answer to a question)…and if you do not want to hand them in today, be sure to take sufficient notes to enable you to write up your "results" this weekend. Your answers can be typed (12 pt. font) or hand-written, but they must be legible. Use as many words as you need to answer the questions, there is no minimum or maximum word count (when in doubt, clear and concise is always a good way to go).

"The Embarkation
of Henry at Dover"
  • Along with the fleet launching, what other activities are shown in the engraving?
  • How has Dover been presented? What is important about it? What is missing? How does it compare to the presentation in "Le Champ de Drap d'Or"?
  • Do the ships appear to be more functional or ceremonial in nature?
  • Can you see Henry VIII anywhere in the picture? How can you tell which ship he is on? Why would the artist present this event in this way?
  • What symbols of Henry VIII are used in the engraving?
  • Why do you think the artist chose to use the St. George's Cross so prominently?
  • Note the flags (royal standard, etc.) and sails on the ships…what is the weather like on the day in question? Do you see inconsistency here? What else might the artist be trying to tell us?
  • Look at the detail in the sea itself…what possible interpretations might there be for this?
  • Why are there no women shown in this piece?
  • Why was this topic chosen as a companion piece for the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1781?


"Le Champ de
Drap d'Or"
  • The purpose of the painting is ostensibly to present the events of the meeting between Henry VIII & Francis I in the main tent shown in the top center of the illustration, in what ways does the artist indicate that this is the most important aspect of the day? In what ways is it not the most important aspect? What seems to be instead?
  • What do you note about objects/items and places represented on the horizon?
  • How are weapons depicted in the painting?
  • What symbols of Henry VIII are presented in the picture?
  • How is Henry VIII pictured? How about his entourage?
  • Consider the use of color in the engraving…how do certain colors indicate status? Loyalty? Nationality?
  • Describe the fountains…what is their purpose?
  • What does the role of women seem to be on this occasion?
  • Why was this topic chosen for an engraving…as ordered by Parliament in 1774?
  • Note the size and location of the original painting…what does this tell us about the continuing importance of the event? Of this representation of the event?


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Christine Myers, History 331, Block 6, 2004 ©2004 Cornell College; All Rights Reserved