1st Edition

All the Queen’s Jewels, 1445–1548 Power, Majesty and Display

By Nicola Tallis Copyright 2023
    360 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    360 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    From Margaret of Anjou to Katherine Parr, All the Queen’s Jewels examines the jewellery collections of the ten queen consorts of England between 14451548 and investigates the collections of jewels a queen had access to, as well as the varying contexts in which queens used and wore jewels.

    The jewellery worn by queens reflected both their gender and their status as the first lady of the realm. Jewels were more than decorative adornments; they were an explicit display of wealth, majesty and authority. They were often given to queens by those who wished to seek her favour or influence and were also associated with key moments in their lifecycle. These included courtship and marriage, successfully negotiating childbirth (and thus providing dynastic continuity), and their elevation to queenly status or coronation. This book explores the way that queens acquired jewels, whether via their predecessor, their own commission or through gift giving. It underscores that jewels were a vital tool that enabled queens to shape their identities as consort, and to fashion images of power that could be seen by their households, court and contemporaries.

    This book is perfect for anyone interested in medieval and Tudor history, queenship, jewellery and the history of material culture.

    Introduction  1. An Introduction to Jewellery and the Queenly Use of Jewels  2. The Wills of the Queens of England, 1445-1548  3. The Jewel Inventories of Jane Seymour, Katherine Howard and Kateryn Parr  4. Portraiture  5. Goldsmiths and Commissioning Jewels  6. Gifts of Jewels  7. The Crown Jewels  8.Conclusion


    Nicola Tallis is an independent historian, whose interests are sixteenth century queenship and jewellery. She is the author of Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey (2016), Elizabeth’s Rival: The Tumultuous Tale of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester (2017), and Uncrowned Queen: The Fateful Life of Margaret Beaufort, Tudor Matriarch (2019).

    ‘This study offers a fresh interpretation of queenship and the ways in which queens wielded power in late Medieval and early modern society. Jewellery is often dismissed as a trivial topic when in fact it is at the heart of politics. Tallis remarkably reveals its true importance in defining and challenging power--especially when it came to queens. Thoroughly researched and with an accessible prose, this book is undeniably a significant contribution to the field and is going to be a great resource for students, scholars, and members of the public alike who have an interest in queens and power.’

    Estelle Paranque, New College of the Humanities, UK

    ‘This exciting new work is an excellent example of innovative new work in queenship studies, tracing the evolution of the queen’s jewel collection during a particularly turbulent period from the Wars of the Roses to the last of Henry VIII’s six wives. This engaging read demonstrates the importance of the queen’s jewels in underpinning her role by projecting majesty as well as enhancing her networks through gift exchange.’

    Elena Woodacre, University of Winchester, UK

    ‘This study of the jewel collections of the queens consort of England between 1445 and 1548 offers a fluent, engaging, and very informative account of an important aspect of female royalty. Nicola Tallis’s book contributes original research to a generation of scholarship into the material history of late-medieval European queenship, drawing on evidence from inventories, wills, portraiture, commissions to artisans, and correspondence. The book presents a comprehensive account of the production, acquisition and care of the queens’ jewels and their use as personal adornment and gifts in a wide range of contexts. It ably demonstrates how the deployment of the queens’ jewels was an integral part of the magnificence of Plantagenet and Tudor monarchy.’

    Glenn Richardson, St Mary's University, UK

    "Nicola Tallis has justifiably established herself as an expert not just on the English queens’ jewellery collection but how these pieces advertised power, augmented influence, and shaped reputations in the early modern era. An important, groundbreaking, and fascinating book."

    Gareth Russell, Historian and Broadcaster.