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12 November 2018Love, Betrothal and Marriage at the V & A
14 October 2018Visit to DUBLIN, Ireland's Georgian Jewel
20 September 2018Christchurch Mansion & Art Gallery, Ipswich and Paycocke's House
10 June 2018Visit to East Anglia, focussing on the Great Houses of Norfolk

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Love, Betrothal and Marriage at the V & A
Monday 12 November 2018

From Medieval Jousts to Georgian Concerts:

Love and Marriage at the Victoria and Albert Museum on November 12th

Our group of twenty members organized by Anita Goodall spent a very absorbing hour and a half tracing the ways marriage arrangements have been celebrated and commemorated in art through the ages. Anne Haworth, who also lectures for the Arts Society, took us on a tour which illuminated the history of marital alliances from the Middle Ages through to the 18th century starting with a very intricately worked white-on-white Sicilian quilt illustrating the story of Tristan and Isolde. Emblems of virginity and purity were recurring themes, while hunting as a metaphor for courtship was a central part of "The Chase" one of four exquisite Devonshire tapestries owned by Bess of Hardwick which came to the V&A in 1957.

Highlights explored included sumptuous stained glass windows from the Chapel of the Holy Blood in Bruges portraying Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian I whose marriage changed the balance of power in Europe and produced Philip the Fair, shown in the same display alongside his wife, Joan of Navarre. We admired the exquisite workmanship on a gimmel ring made of two interlocking parts symbolizing the joining together of husband and wife, and after studying a miniature by Nicholas Hilliard of a dashing young man thought to be the Earl of Leicester, we found it easy to see why Elizabeth the First favoured him. Anne also showed us the portrait of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein which lead to his fall from grace during the reign of Henry the Eighth. The tour finished in the reconstructed music room from Norfolk House where we were told more than one proposal of marriage has been made during a tour of the Victoria and Albert. This was, of course, just a fraction of what is on show at the V&A and all agreed that they would be making return visits to explore further.