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1520: The Field of the Cloth of Gold

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1520 explores the characters of two larger-than-life kings, whose rivalry and love-hate relations added a feisty edge to European relations in the early 16th century. What propelled them to meet, and how did each vie to outdo the other in feats of strength and yards of gold cloth? Everyone who was anyone in 1520 was there. But why were the flower of England’s nobility tran 1520 explores the characters of two larger-than-life kings, whose rivalry and love-hate relations added a feisty edge to European relations in the early 16th century. What propelled them to meet, and how did each vie to outdo the other in feats of strength and yards of gold cloth? Everyone who was anyone in 1520 was there. But why were the flower of England’s nobility transported across the Channel, and how were they catered for? What did this temporary, fairy-tale village erected in a French field look like, feel like and smell like? This book explores not only the political dimension of their meeting, and the difficult triangle they established with Emperor Charles V, but also the material culture behind the scenes. While the courtiers attended masques, dances, feasts and jousts, an army of servants toiled in the temporary village created specially for that summer. Who were the men and women behind the scenes? And what was the long-term result of the meeting, of that sea of golden tents and fountains spouting wine?


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1520 explores the characters of two larger-than-life kings, whose rivalry and love-hate relations added a feisty edge to European relations in the early 16th century. What propelled them to meet, and how did each vie to outdo the other in feats of strength and yards of gold cloth? Everyone who was anyone in 1520 was there. But why were the flower of England’s nobility tran 1520 explores the characters of two larger-than-life kings, whose rivalry and love-hate relations added a feisty edge to European relations in the early 16th century. What propelled them to meet, and how did each vie to outdo the other in feats of strength and yards of gold cloth? Everyone who was anyone in 1520 was there. But why were the flower of England’s nobility transported across the Channel, and how were they catered for? What did this temporary, fairy-tale village erected in a French field look like, feel like and smell like? This book explores not only the political dimension of their meeting, and the difficult triangle they established with Emperor Charles V, but also the material culture behind the scenes. While the courtiers attended masques, dances, feasts and jousts, an army of servants toiled in the temporary village created specially for that summer. Who were the men and women behind the scenes? And what was the long-term result of the meeting, of that sea of golden tents and fountains spouting wine?

37 review for 1520: The Field of the Cloth of Gold

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tina Baker

    Ms Licence always writes about topics which have been dealt with by other historians, and can't a hold a candle to them. Ms Licence always writes about topics which have been dealt with by other historians, and can't a hold a candle to them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Malagisi

    In 1520, two larger than life kings met each other in France for two weeks. This may not sound astounding as many kings left their respected countries to meet other rulers throughout history. It was part of European diplomacy. However, what made this particular period of time extraordinary is the sheer size and the opulence of the event. The King of England, Henry VIII, met the King of France, Francis I, for two weeks of festivities and feasting that we now call The Field of the Cloth of Gold. W In 1520, two larger than life kings met each other in France for two weeks. This may not sound astounding as many kings left their respected countries to meet other rulers throughout history. It was part of European diplomacy. However, what made this particular period of time extraordinary is the sheer size and the opulence of the event. The King of England, Henry VIII, met the King of France, Francis I, for two weeks of festivities and feasting that we now call The Field of the Cloth of Gold. We often think that this event accomplished nothing because the rivalry between Henry VIII and Francis I continued afterward. Was the purpose of this event to quell the rivalry between the two kings or was there something more behind all the glitz and glam of the Field of the Cloth of Gold? What do the behind the scenes records reveal about this event? Amy Licence explores this event from every angle in her latest book, “1520: The Field of the Cloth of Gold”. I would like to thank Amberley Publishing for sending me a copy of this book. When I heard about this book from Amy Licence, I knew that I wanted to read it. Since 2020 marks the 500th anniversary of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, it seemed extremely appropriate to read this book in 2020. To understand why Henry VIII and Francois I met each other, Licence includes brief biographies of these two dynamic figures and the women that accompanied them to the field in France. Obviously, the information about Henry VIII and his wife Katherine of Aragon was a review for me, but I found the biographies of Francis I and his wife Claude quite fascinating. The relationship between the two kings shaped why this event took place. Licence explains the political negotiations that took place to make such an event happen. She also takes the time to show the role that a third party, Emperor Charles V, took in the timing of the event. The bulk of this book is the grand event itself. Licence’s attention to detail is meticulous and readers can tell her passion for this subject. What I knew about the Field of the Cloth of Gold before reading this book was an overview of the event, which is why I appreciate the attention to detail in this book. Licence uses letters and descriptions from those who were able to attend this event to show the vast scale of each day. From jousting to feasts, balls, and masques, there was so much symbolism and revelry to be had by all. To pull off a spectacle such as this on both sides, it was the craftsmen, the cooks, and the temporary villages of people who made these two weeks a sensation. Licence shows how much planning and how expensive it was to throw a party of this magnitude and what impact it had on political decisions after the pavilions and temporary palaces went down. I found myself thoroughly enjoying the intricate details that Licence included with her stylistic yet readable writing style. Licence made her readers feel like they had a front-row seat to the Field of the Cloth of Gold while being academic and very well researched. I found myself imagining the splendor of those two weeks. If you want a tremendous book on this extravaganza of 16th-century European grandeur, I highly recommend you read, “1520: The Field of the Cloth of Gold” by Amy Licence.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bryson

    The Field of the Cloth of Gold is a fascinating and detailed look at the famous meeting between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France that took place in 1520. Right from the start, it is evident that author Amy Licence has done a great deal of research for this book. She has studied documents including letters from ambassadors, inventories, personal letters, and records kept both privately and publicly from such sources as English, Italian, French and Venetian (just to name a f The Field of the Cloth of Gold is a fascinating and detailed look at the famous meeting between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France that took place in 1520. Right from the start, it is evident that author Amy Licence has done a great deal of research for this book. She has studied documents including letters from ambassadors, inventories, personal letters, and records kept both privately and publicly from such sources as English, Italian, French and Venetian (just to name a few). If there is a reference to the happenings before, during or after the famous event then you can be sure Amy Licence has studied it! Using this wealth of information Licence gives a brief background about Henry VIII, his wife Katherine of Aragon, Francis I and his wife Claude and then moves on to discuss the political reasons as to why this magnificent meeting took place. The Field of the Cloth of Gold was an event that lasted over two weeks that had, quite literally, thousands upon thousands of people involved. Licence details the multitude of jobs that were required to bring this event to life, from builders to carpenters, from cooks to seamstresses, from servants to painters. The number of people involved was just incredible and it is almost overwhelming to learn how much work these people did to ensure a successful and grand meeting between these two powerful Kings. I was fascinated by the lists that Licence included such as the range of food that people ate, the wages paid to workers and the massive amount of materials needed. It is details such as this, that are often not included in other recounts of the event, that shows just how much research Licence has done for this book. As well as all of this, Licence discusses, again in detail, the different things that took place each day. From the first meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, through to their respective Queen’s meeting, to the lavish dances that were presented, the jousting and other sporting events that were undertaken, the magnificent feasts held and then the final meeting between both kings. Following on from such a detailed description of The Field of the Cloth of Gold, Licence discusses the political results from the meeting. She talks about both the short and long term relations between England and France and the impact that the event had upon both countries as well as greater Europe. The Field of the Cloth of Gold is a fascinating, detailed book which does not miss a single detail. It is, quite honestly, amazing that such a massive event was able to be successfully accomplished! Licence does a wonderful job of discussing both the political and personal impacts of this event on England, France and wider Europe. I really enjoyed this book and found it an engaging read. Licence has a fluid writing style that really captures the reader and this book is a testament to that style. Highly Recommended!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Amy Licence clearly did a lot of excellent research for this book. It is filled to the brim with details, and ordinarily that would be amazing.... but the fine details here don’t exactly add up to anything. I didn’t get a sense of the big picture. Had I no prior knowledge of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, I wouldn’t really have any solid idea of why it was happening or why it was important. Whilst you certainly get a sense of the grandeur and expense of it all, the legacy and significance of th Amy Licence clearly did a lot of excellent research for this book. It is filled to the brim with details, and ordinarily that would be amazing.... but the fine details here don’t exactly add up to anything. I didn’t get a sense of the big picture. Had I no prior knowledge of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, I wouldn’t really have any solid idea of why it was happening or why it was important. Whilst you certainly get a sense of the grandeur and expense of it all, the legacy and significance of the event gets lost in the descriptions of what people were wearing, how long they jousted for, how much people were paid, when they arrived.... etc.... etc.... etc..... If you are into the fine details, then you’ll love this book. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, fine details do nothing for me - telling me who went left and who went right in a battle, for example, makes me switch right off - and whilst this book was clearly very well researched, for me it was simply too microscopic a look at a huge event.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    2020 was to be one of celebration as it marked the 500th anniversary of the meeting between King Henry VIII and his French counterpart, King François I at an event called The Field of the Cloth of Gold. Amy License takes us to that right royal get-together and what we get, is a wonderful insight into the event. It is told beautifully and in a narrative that brings this important moment in history to life for the reader. Each page is filled with information that the author has drawn from source m 2020 was to be one of celebration as it marked the 500th anniversary of the meeting between King Henry VIII and his French counterpart, King François I at an event called The Field of the Cloth of Gold. Amy License takes us to that right royal get-together and what we get, is a wonderful insight into the event. It is told beautifully and in a narrative that brings this important moment in history to life for the reader. Each page is filled with information that the author has drawn from source material such as letters and dispatches from those involved. The Field of the Cloth of Gold is an important event in Tudor history and Amy License has brought to us not just the magnificence of the event, but the pure logistics of pulling off such a spectacle. This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the pageantry of the Tudor period.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I was surprised because I have loved all of License's works, but found this to be just so-so. Instead of a micro-history of the time period through the lens of this international event, we mostly just get biographies of all the main players who attended - and even those who didn't, like Emperor Charles, whom she calls "the spectre at the feast" in his conspicuous absence. That's all well and good, but I wanted the focus to be on the event itself, instead of almost the afterthought its presented I was surprised because I have loved all of License's works, but found this to be just so-so. Instead of a micro-history of the time period through the lens of this international event, we mostly just get biographies of all the main players who attended - and even those who didn't, like Emperor Charles, whom she calls "the spectre at the feast" in his conspicuous absence. That's all well and good, but I wanted the focus to be on the event itself, instead of almost the afterthought its presented as. From just this book alone, I didn't come away with any impression as to why this event is still talked about 500 years later.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Hurst

    There is no doubt that this is a well researched book but I expected more. It is a detailed factual account of the meeting between Henry and Francis but there seems to be little by way of in-depth analysis of the reasons and political machinations for the meeting. This book will appeal to anyone wishing to know the logistics involved in organizing such an enormous event, however it sometimes reads simply like a list of who attended, what they wore, what they ate, and how much was spent.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Powers

    Glenn Richardson's excellent book on the same topic came out only in 2013. This book's just a rehash and offers nothing new. Skip it. Glenn Richardson's excellent book on the same topic came out only in 2013. This book's just a rehash and offers nothing new. Skip it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Fenton

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary Louise

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  14. 5 out of 5

    Almarie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julia Gilchrist

  17. 5 out of 5

    Fivewincs

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meagan McGuirt

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rose Tudor

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Verardi Knutson

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gert Gielis

  23. 5 out of 5

    Juliew.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Smith

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Burroughs

  26. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tempest Saraí Nils

  28. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

  30. 4 out of 5

    James Harrison

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  32. 4 out of 5

    Brandy Hodges

  33. 5 out of 5

    Maya Ch

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Scheper

  35. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  36. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

  37. 5 out of 5

    Noah

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