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Famous for five centuries

Press release issued: 3 December 2008

The Tudors and their lasting influence will be the focus of a public lecture by historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey at Bristol University this Saturday [6 December].

The lecture, entitled The Tudors: Famous for Five Centuries, is part of this year’s Colston Research Symposium, a three-day meeting at the University which will bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to explore ‘Tudorism’ – the ways in which the Tudor period, its monarchs, its artistic expressions, and its cultural heroes (such as Holbein and Shakespeare) have been appropriated by later generations.

A concert of Tudor and 20th-century Tudorist music will also be given in the Wills Memorial Building on Friday 5 December.  The hour-long concert by the Exultate Singers will include performances of Robert Carver and James MacMillan’s settings of the text O bone Jesu, Britten’s Gloriana Dances, excerpts from Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor and settings of Shakespeare texts.  The concert is free and all are welcome. 

The three-day symposium, entitled Tudorism: Historical Imagination and the Appropriation of the Sixteenth Century, is sponsored by the Colston Research Society and the British Academy, and directed by Dr Tania String and Professor Marcus Bull.  The timing of the event anticipates the quincentenary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne in April 1509. 

Dr Tania String said: “Bristol is a highly appropriate place in which to explore the Tudors and Tudorism.  It was a vibrant, active city during the reign of the Tudor monarchs.  Queen Elizabeth famously visited the city and commented that St Mary Redcliffe was ‘the fairest, goodliest, most famous parish church in all England’.

“Bristol today is made up of many ‘Tudor Gothic’ architectural fantasies, including the building in which the symposium will be held, the Old Baptist College, now home to the University’s Department of History of Art and Department of Archaeology and Anthropology.  The fan vaulting in the Wills Memorial Building is also an outstanding example of a direct appropriation of Tudor style.”

The concert by the Exultate Singers, conducted by David Ogden, will take place in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road on Friday 5 December at 8.00 pm. 

Dr David Starkey will deliver his lecture in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road on Saturday 6 December at 7.00 pm.

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