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28 May 2020The Field of the Cloth of Gold
25 June 2020Our AGM followed by: The Art of the Japanese Garden

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The Field of the Cloth of Gold Joanna Mabbutt Thursday 28 May 2020

In the light of recent government advice and to safeguard our members, we regret to inform you that this  Arts Society Highgate talk has been cancelled.

 

In making this decision we have been guided by the Arts Society national organisation and we shall keep in touch with them as this crisis progresses to see

what, if any, alternative provision is proposed.

 

Field of Cloth of Gold: 6,000 Englishmen in France for 18 days - how did they do it?

In June 1520 Henry VIII and Francis 1 meet to ratify an Anglo-French alliance and celebrate the betrothal of Henry’s daughter Mary to the Dauphin. The two handsome ‘Renaissance Princes’ are in their 20’s with similar reputations in military prowess, sport and patrons of the arts. Both have imperial ambitions and are eager to display themselves as magnificent nobleman and warrior kings. Each brings an entourage of 6,000 to a field south of Calais for 18 days of various events and entertainments staged to display the skill and splendour of each King and country.

The logistics of transporting, accommodating, ordering, feeding and watering, protecting and entertaining the English contingent for this spectacular event is staggering and the supply chain, often through the City of London Guilds, is equally fascinating. 3,217 horses shipped across the ‘Narrow Sea’ to Calais; a vast quantity of wood sourced from Flanders and floated along the coast; a huge temporary palace is built on stone foundations with brick and timber-framed walls reaching to 40 feet. Royal palaces were virtually emptied of their silver, gold, tapestries and furniture to decorate the temporary palace, other principal tents and a chapel (with an organ); gold and silver cloth, velvet and sables were imported to ‘dress and impress’.

How was it all achieved? 2020 is the 500th Anniversary of this extraordinary event.