Images of Rule by David J. Howarth

Images of Rule by David J. Howarth – Art and Politics in the English Renaissance, 1485-1649 was on my to-read list for University. It was not a book I would have picked from the library and that would have been a shame. The book is written lovely and the topics are very interesting. The aim of the book is to show how the role of the imagery in the political arena, and the focal point is not the quality or the creative processes behind the art.

Images of Rule by David J. Howarth

As the name suggests, the focus is on visual arts, but it is not only about paintings. The book starts with Royal Buildings, but the chapter mentions aristocratic houses, not only the royal ones. After that goes into the Royal Portraiture, with such an important role in the Tudor and Stuart periods. He talks a lot about Elizabethan portraiture and that was very helpful for me, but equally interesting. Obviously he talks about well known portraits of her and it was fascinating to see how much meaning a portrait could convey.

Another chapter I enjoyed a lot was the one about the tombs. He also describes church architecture and Tudor and Stuart writers and critics. The tombs and funeral imagery are not something I would have paid too much attention too, as it is not something we care much in this day and age. The funeral monuments ordered by kings give us so much meaning, from Henry VII’s choice for his and his wife tomb, going to Henry VIII’s attention to size (he wanted a bigger tomb than his father’s), and Elizabeth’s avoidance of the subject, as a way to show her eternal youth and immortality. I enjoyed reading about James I’s commemorations of both Elizabeth and his own mother, Mary, Queen of Scots.

While this is a book written by a historian for academic purposes, I think it can easily be enjoyed by anybody wanting to know more on the subject. The writing style is not dry at all.

Images of Rule by David J. Howarth

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: Yes
Published by: Macmillan
Year it was published: 1997
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): History
Pages: 323

About the author: David J. Howarth is professor of history of art at the University of Edinburgh.
Books by him: Images of Rule; Lord Arundel and His Circle; Rubens and His Legacy; Patronage and Collecting in the Seventeenth Century.
Website & Social Media Links: –

1 thought on “Images of Rule by David J. Howarth”

  • I think I would love this interesting look at history. I’m glad it was required reading for you since it turned out to be so good.

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