Edward IV Manuscripts

Posted by on 4 January 2012 in category in Tudor Art - 0 0 Comments

The British Museum shares illustrated manuscripts collected by Edward IV.

An illustrated manuscript collected by Edward IV is now on display at the British Museum in their new exhibition, "Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination."  Edward IV was a medieval king of England--twice. He was the Yorkist heir to the throne and battled Henry VI, the Lancastrian claimant to the throne, during the Wars of the Roses. The two of them traded the throne back and forth a few times, before Edward IV eventually emerged victorious. Edward IV was a well-liked and successful king of England for many years, and his collection of these manuscripts show his desire to establish England as one of the great courts of Europe.

Upon his death, Edward named his brother Richard as protector of his sons and heirs. Big mistake. Richard III went on to declare his nephews bastards, was probably (but never proven) responsible for their death in the Tower of London, and named himself king of England, becoming Richard III upon his coronation. Richard was so unpopular with nobility and commoners alike that he opened the door for the very unlikely claimant to the throne, Henry Tudor, to challenge him in battle. Even more unlikely, Henry won. Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, leaving Henry Tudor, the last Lancastrian claimant to the throne, as the king of England.

If you are lucky enough to be in London, you can visit these illuminated manuscripts in person. If you can't make it in person, visit them on the British Library's Facebook page. 

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