Gift giving at the court of Henry VIII: the 1539 New Year's gift roll in context
The Antiquaries Journal, 85, .
- Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
The exchange of gifts at the New Year was a very significant social, political and financial event at the court of Henry VIII, just as it would have been at the courts of his English predecessors and European contemporaries. The process of gift exchange, including who made, received and gave gifts, was recorded each year in the gift roll.
This article presents a detailed analysis of the 1539 gift roll, now in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, in the context of the other extant rolls for 1528, 1532 and 1534. Areas for discussion include a consideration of the range and significance of the gifts given and received by Henry and the role of the goldsmiths who made the king's gifts, including the weight, style and shape of the pieces commissioned. The article is supported by a full transcript of the 1539 gift roll, which is accompanied by extensive references comparing this gift roll to the other surviving gift rolls.
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