Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Recommended Reading

Dyeing and Screen Printing

By Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor

My specialist subject at university was Textiles, and for my final year piece I did a huge amount of screen printing. This book was amazing, as it went through how to set up and equip a studio, how to prepare images and calculate exposure time, dyeing and printing methods, cloth preparation and fixing. There are also amazing photos of works from practitioners from around the world.

This book is for already practicing artists who already have a good knowledge of basic print methods, but who want to gain more understanding of their craft.

My Rating 8/10

The Lady in the Tower

By Alison Weir

I have a huge fascination with the Tudors, maybe because back home in England I live 10 miles from the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I and we visited it on school trips. So it figures that I always found the story of her mother’s rise and downfall intriguing and often not truthfully explained.

Alison Weir is an amazing historian and brings the lives of these huge figures to life in an easy and understandable way. I bought this book because for the first time it went into detail about the last few months of Anne Boleyn’s life rather than the in and outs of how she became wife number two. She looks at the reasons as to why Anne was accused, the political intrigues against her, Cromwell’s motives, the evidence which was very much a case of twisted conversations and poorly thought through dates of her crimes with other men! One of the dates she was allegedly sleeping with a courtier was when she was heavily pregnant, as the Queen of England she would not in anyway chance a miscarriage for any man. Another date that she was suppose to be having an elicit affair, she was really miles away at a different palace with many witnesses.

Through Weir’s sources and knowledge of Tudor history you gain an understanding that Anne had no chance of surviving this political smear campaign and was doomed from the beginning. In fact it is shown that Henry, who played the cuckold husband and who was shocked by the evidence in the trial, had already sent for the executioner from France before the trial had even begun. So he must of known she would be found guilty of something one way or another.

The chapter on the day of her death and the agony she must have gone through when the execution was delayed twice shows what a strong and highly religious woman she was. Her speech on the scaffold is also very moving and brave.

The author also looks at the effect of Anne Boleyn’s death on her daughter Elizabeth. Would she of known her mother well? Were they close? Most royal children were brought up in their own households by tutors and nannies. It is thought that Elizabeth associated marriage, sex and birth with death, maybe partly caused by the deaths of her mother, Jane Seymour and Katherine Howard. She must of thought something of her mother as in the book is a picture of a ring that Elizabeth wore which opened up like a locket in which there are portraits of herself and her mother. A great read for any history nuts out there!

My Rating 10/10

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