1520: The Field of the Cloth of Gold
When Henry VIII and Francis I met in northern France in June 1520, the emphasis was on entertainment rather than politics, yet the sheer extravagance of the event was a statement of power. Amy Licence offers a fresh perspective on that fortnight of fabulous costumes, golden tents, jousting and dancing, looking at political aims and results but also at the astonishing logistics of the operation and how ‘The ideal of perfect chivalry and friendship, as unsustainable as the summer, had been realised’.
Catherine of Aragon
An Intimate Life of Henry VIII's True Wife
Catherine of Aragon has been remembered as a tragic figure, the woman Henry VIII divorced for want of a male heir. Amy Licence takes issue with this portrayal: her study presents neither a victim nor a divorcée, but a highly educated Spanish princess and a great humanist queen who, in the early years of her marriage, was Henry's advisor and his warrior. A portrait of a 'complex, passionate, unbreakable woman', the biography also upholds Catherine's unwavering conviction that her 'divorce' was invalid.
Three Extraordinary Women: Ida Nettleship, Sophie Brzeska and Fernande Olivier
This book explores the lives and achievements of three unconventional, creative women, and the sacrifices they made for the artists they loved. Fernande Olivier (1881–1966) was Picasso’s first love and muse; Sophie Brzeska (1873–1925) lived with the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, 19 years her junior, until he was killed in the First World War; and Ida Nettleship (1877–1907) bore five children to Augustus John while living in a ménage à trois with him and his mistress.
Adultery, Heresy, Desire
‘A narrative that balances on the cusp of old and new, equally informed by both’, the story of Anne Boleyn – her courtship, marriage and eventual tragedy – is often told, yet remains something of a mystery. Amy Licence approaches Anne’s life from the long perspective of the ambitious Boleyn family; she examines how, as queen, Anne overreached contemporary ideas about both women and aristocrats, and how she developed the sophisticated tastes and expectations of Renaissance culture, patronage and queenship.