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British School, 16th century

The Family of Henry VIII c. 1545

RCIN 405796

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The Great Garden at Whitehall Palace, seen in the background of this painting, is the first recognisable garden in British art. Prominence is given to the garden feature known as the ‘king’s beasts’, carved and painted wooden heraldic beasts on poles. Their appearance in the gardens at Whitehall Palace and Hampton Court Palace, and in the painting of The Family of Henry VIII, serve as a visual symbol of Tudor dynastic supremacy.