The Tudor Age

Susan Brigden

In The Tudor Age, historian Susan Brigden brings to life the world of Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I in a Folio edition superbly illustrated with colour portraiture.

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‘A dazzling introduction to the Tudor age, a tour de force of historical writing: vivid, evocative, authoritative.’
  1. Roy Strong Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year

From Henry Tudor to Elizabeth, the Tudors bestride British history like no other royal dynasty. Written by one of the period’s most gifted chroniclers, The Tudor Age has been hailed as the most authoritative and masterly account of their 118-year reign. Susan Brigden looks afresh at the familiar story of kings and queens, courtly intrigue and plot, foregrounding the religious turmoil of the English Reformation that ‘shattered a world of shared belief’. She brings to life an age of old enmities and new horizons – of warring Irish chieftains and the Spanish Armada, the imaginative achievements of More, Marlowe and Shakespeare, and the lure of New World riches. There is much, too, about Tudor society, from marriage, childbirth and family life to the plight of paupers and fear of witchcraft. Wonderfully illustrated with fine portraiture, The Tudor Age is a gripping introduction to ‘the experience of those who lived in that time – of their certainties and uncertainties, hopes and terrors.’

Bound in printed and blocked cloth

Set in Poliphilus with Goudy initial drop capitals

496 pages

20 full-page colour portraits

Gilded top edge

Blocked slipcase

10˝ x 6¾˝

‘Ambitious in range, learned, subtle and enthralling, this is a book of real distinction. As a panorama of the Tudor world, it is probably the best there is.’
  1. Financial Times

To create this superlative edition of The Tudor Age, The Folio Society worked closely with Susan Brigden to select 20 magnificent portraits from the National Portrait Gallery and prestigious collections across the world. These famous images portray the great figures of the age – from Anne Boleyn and the Earl of Essex to Erasmus, More and Ralegh – as they wished to face posterity. All the Tudor monarchs are here, with court painter Hans Holbein the Younger capturing the swagger of Henry VIII and the piety of the boy king Edward VI. Many of the pictures are rich in symbolism and detail, such as the pattern of pearls on Walter Ralegh’s dramatic costume, the broken panes behind Archbishop Cranmer, Queen Mary’s red Lancastrian Rose and the ermine, sword and olive branch to underscore Elizabeth’s royal power. All are included as full-page colour images, reproduced at the sharpest possible quality from the original sources. Beautiful to own and handle, the book is finished with gilded page edges and a binding showing a detail of Holbein’s Henry VIII portrait.

Susan Brigden is a British historian of the Tudor period, a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, and of the British Academy. Until her retirement in 2016, she was Reader in Early Modern History at the University of Oxford. She was educated at the University of Manchester and Clare College, Cambridge. She is the author of two other books, London and the Reformation and Thomas Wyatt: The Heart’s Forest, which won the Wolfson History Prize and was acclaimed as an extraordinarily vivid biography of England’s great Renaissance poet.


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