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Field of Cloth Of Gold/Recommended Ref' works?

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:17 pm
by ShawaddyNoddy
Been doing some more research on the palace that Henry had contructed for his meeting with Francis I. The best description I've yet found is in Henry VIII King and Court by Allison Weir. From what she describes it would appear that the building on the right-hand side of the painting, 'Field of Cloth Of Gold', one of two painted several years after the event, is actually just the gatehouse. Has anyone got any ref' books that they can suggest for further reading and more info' on this subject?

What I've got so far is this; that the main structure was in four blocks, 328 ft on each side, with a central courtyard inside of them. The 30ft high walls were set upon 8ft high brick bases. There is no mention of the roof height but it was a single pitched one and possibly as much as 50ft, or more, tall. The walls were all glazed by a Belgian called Galyon Hone and the interior and exterior were heavily decorated-too much to list here!

Just for fun, and taking the width of the canvas to cover this framework as being the standard 3ft available today, just as a starting point, I had a go at guesstimating how much material and time it would take me to do just the canvas-work. This is conjecture based on what info' I have to date and in no way is meant as a serious attempt at quantifying the real thing. But it will give you an idea of how amazing this structure was. So, if you assume that being King, Henry wanted space and could afford it and ordered a depth, from the outer wall to the inner wall, of 50 ft and an overall height of 50ft, it would require roughly 27,880 mts of canvas to cover the framework. If he was really extravagant and went for a depth of 100ft from outer to inner wall it would take about 37,952 mts.

I estimate it would take about 15 months to make, bearing in mind that this is 'just' for 4 roor sections and 16 walls. No decoration, no holes for windows, no clever stuff at all, just plain canvas to cover the framework. To put the material side of it into context, at 27,880 mts you could have 309 X 16ft diameter pavillion tents; at 37,952 mts you could have 421.....To put that into context,there were 2800 tents for guest accomadation in the surrounding fields.

Glad I wasn't one of the 6000 that had to make this thing! And they did it in less than three months.

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:34 pm
by myladyswardrobe
I am constantly amazed, humbled and awed by what our ancestors could do. Society now as this arrogant tendency of viewing the past as primitive but look at what our ancestors could achieve. The sheer beauty of the craftsmanship of all sorts of things is just mind blowing.

Assuming your workings out are close to accurate (and I would not argue with the maths!) - THREE months to make all that (I know, lots of people working on it) and how long has work been going on the Olympics site? and how much MORE time will be spent on it??

Wouldn't it be amazing to see even a fraction of the canvas Cloth of Gold palace "rebuilt". It would be fantastic as a 500th Coronation celebration next year!

Just had another thought on all of this: The insides would have been lined and then hung with lovely fabrics and tapestries. Furniture would have been made for it. Floor coverings as well (probably on floor boards!).

And then there is a the huge logistical nightmare of managing the materials, builders etc and all the furniture etc and the staff to run it.

All without any computers. All done longhand! And there I was grouching about staff timesheet MI! This puts it all in perspective!

Makes my head spin!!



Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:38 pm
by ShawaddyNoddy
Well, I agree you have to hand it to the craftsmen/women of the time, they were capable of fantastic stuff.

Here's a taste of this Eighth Wonder.
The canvas roof was painted to look like slate and lead roofing, the whole of the outside of the walls were painted to look like brickwork, it had battlements too. The amount of glass used in the windows caused people to comment on how light it was inside. The interior had many rooms; there was a King's Side, a Queens Side, a suite for Wolsey and also one for Mary Tudor. All of these had chambers decorated with gilt cornices, tapestries, hangings of cloth of gold or silver, or of green or white, Turkish carpets, chairs, beds of state, buffets laden with plate.......!

The best room was the dining room apparently, with a ceiling of green silk studded with gold roses, and the floor was covered with a patterned taffeta. There was a chapel, heavily decorated.

Whole, brick built fireplaces, most ceilings gilded, offices for royal staff and also a private connecting gallery leading to a gateway into the castle of Guisnes.

As you say, amazing stuff! The largest thing I've ever made was a deck cover/awning for a 75 ft yacht, which was in three sections to make it manageable. That's nothing to this monster.

I have played around a bit and drawn up plans for a tent that would be a replica of the gatehouse that's in the painting I mentioned. Even think I can make it two storey as well! There are some mentions of this palace that I've come across which suggest that in some areas it had two floors. I've no idea if this was the case but frankly it wouldn't surprise me.

What is so amazing and quite sad is that there are no known surviving pieces of the palace. All of it has gone.


Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:50 pm
by Gandi
Has anyone got any ref' books that they can suggest for further reading and more info' on this subject?
Why not look through the excellent bibliography in Allison Weirs book?

The works by Anglo on the field of the cloth of gold are well worth reading and not difficult to get hold of.

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:39 pm
by ShawaddyNoddy
:oops: Have to admit that I`d thought that what was in her book was pretty much whatever is contained in the works she refered to. But! Worth checking up on!! :roll:

Really must never assume................ :lol: :lol: :roll:

Anyway, about that nice big black hole that will appear under my feet any second now.......


Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:53 pm
by Laffin Jon Terris
Losely Park claims to have some of the hangings from Henry VIII's Nonsuch palace and his banqueting tents.

Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:35 am
by ShawaddyNoddy
Wow. that looks like it needs visiting. If they do have the panels from the palace that would be really exciting to see.

Many thanks for the link. :D

Still, I do wonder what on earth could have happened to all the canvas and the wooden structure. Guess it could have been re-used for other events and pageants. Wonder if they even bothered to bring it all back across the channel......

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:57 pm
by Grymm
Also, if you haven't already, go to HCP and look at the painting itself, they have redisplayed and lit it (and The Embarcation and my fav The Battle of Parvia) so you can see them.

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:35 pm
by ShawaddyNoddy
The parentals spent a day there a few years ago. They were casually cruising along a canal on one of their aquatic G&T and sticky bun tours of Britain when the 'bottom end' of the Palace gardens came into view .

So far I've just not made it there; keep thinking each winter break that it's time to organise a visit to some of these great places but things keep getting in the way.

Then again, we've been married for 4 years and still haven't had our honeymoon! Spent the time after the wedding fitting the new kitchen......ah, such romance! :)

Once watched a program about Hampton C' P' and loved the bit in the kitchen, with all the staff, in kit, beetling around. Still find it makes me smile to think of Henry VIII tucking into his favourite snack of cheese on toast - if only because there was an American woman there who was very interested to know that toast had been invented by that time.

Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:20 am
by lidimy
That could have been G23b 'beetling' around! :lol: surely?

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:53 am
by kopiko
I've just not made it there; keep thinking each winter break that it's time to organise a visit
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