Each year more than 250,000 visitors troop through the Chapel of King s College, Cambridge, one of Europe s best-known buildings. This book tells the untold story of the Chapel s crowning glory, its stained glass windows, and of the people who created them the triumphant culmination of a project completed despite wars, the death of kings and violent religious conflict. The glass symbolises the power of the Tudors, and is a mirror of their souls. Planned by Henry VII and continued by Henry VIII, the windows are dynastic propaganda, simultaneously blatant and subtle, boasting the ancient lineage of an upstart monarchy. Their unfolding scenes especially the life and death of the Virgin - honoured the traditional Catholic faith that Henry VIII was challenging in the 1530s, when he made himself head of the church in England in order to marry Anne Boleyn. The windows show how Henry commemorated his wives in art, then airbrushed them out when they fell from favour, and how he recruited leading artists to make this England s response to the Sistine Chapel. he great King s Glass also flaunts the skills of its makers, many of them innovative immigrants as unwelcome then as now. It
Carola Hicks, a former Curator of the Stained Glass Museum, teaches art history at Cambridge University. Her books include Animals in Medieval Art, Discovering Stained Glass; Improper Pursuits, a biography of the scandalous 18th-century artist Lady Di Beauclerk, and the acclaimed The Bayeux Tapestry- the Life Story of a Masterpiece.