Artwork - Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon before Papal Legates at Blackfriars,1529

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  • Title: Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon before Papal Legates at Blackfriars,1529
  • Artist: Frank O. Salisbury
  • Date: 1910--
  • Medium: Oil painting
  • Categories: British history
  • Catalogue number: WOA 2590
  • Description: The original scheme for the East Corridor as set out by the Fine Art Commission in 1847 was very different to how it is today. It was thought to be a good space to illustrate events from before Christianity and after the Revolution. However the scheme was abandoned and it was not until 1907 that renewed interest arose for the east corridor under a new and more liberal government. It was decided that the decoration of this corridor was a priority and the select committee suggested that the Tudor period would be suitable for the illustrated scheme. Individual artists were commissioned to paint each section and to keep visual unity a colour scheme of predominantly black, red and gold was employed and the height of the characters was defined at 1.68m.

    The divorce of Henry VIII from Katherine of Aragon, instigated by the Kings desire for a male heir to the throne, was a major catalyst in the break from Rome and the introduction of Protestantism to England. This illustration shows the dramatic moment where, during the Kings petition for divorce before the Papal Legate and Cardinal Wolsey, the Queen enters the courtroom and \'kneeling down in sight of the whole court and assembly at the King\'s feet and in broken English makes her protest against the divorce, \'I take god and all the world to witness that I have been a true, humble and obedient wife\'. The illustration depicts both the King and Queen with dark and pensive faces telling a quite personal story.
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