A Tudor Family Tree, c.1511-1553

Family Tree of the Tudors, 16th century

What a gorgeous example of the illuminated manuscript tradition from the middle ages!

This is from King’s 395, a manuscript from 1511 (with later additions by another artist c.1553) that records the genealogy of the British kings.

It links the Tudor family and also Edward IV (whose contested accession sparked the War of the Roses) to Adam and Eve.  Thus, this genealogy was “a piece of propaganda legitimising Edward’s accession to the throne” and validated the Tudor’s family connections.

The text originally finished with the first marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, including their son Henry who died in 1511. However, another artist added in members to the family tree up to Edward VI – Henry VIIIs longest surviving son with Jane Seymour – filling in the rest of Henry VIIIs marriages.  This was probably done on Edward’s death at age 15 in 1553.

The codex was given to the British Museum by George IV in 1823.

Click on the image above to zoom in and see the detail that went into each picture on the tree!

Source: [British Museum Catalogue for King’s 395] and [Detail of Tudor Tree page]

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