Artwork - Plucking the Red and White Roses in the Old Temple Gardens

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  • Title: Plucking the Red and White Roses in the Old Temple Gardens
  • Artist: Henry Albert Payne
  • Date: 1910--
  • Medium: Oil painting
  • Categories: British history
  • Catalogue number: WOA 2593
  • 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.

    This illustration depicts the Plucking of the Red and White Roses in the Old Temple Gardens. An event that supposedly happened in the mid-fifteenth century but in all likelihood was produced by Tudor propagandists and popularised by Shakespeare. The uncertain historical basis of the scene was acknowledged by commentators in the late 1900\'s, but the reason for its inclusion becomes clear in regard to the symbolism which Tudor propagandists attributed to it. The purpose of this propaganda was to celebrate the Tudor dynasty not only as the legitimate heirs to the Yorkist and Lancastrian Houses (the protagonists in what became know n as the War of the Roses) but as the union of these Houses through marriage of the Lancastrian Henry Tudor (Henry VII) with Elizabeth, the daughter of the Yorkist King Edward IV. The Tudor rose with element s of both the red of Lancaster and the white of York represented this union. This scene therefore represents both the dynastic struggle which ended with the rise of the Tudors and the origins of the Tudor symbol itself.

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