Inventory of Henry VIII

This manuscript is a significant source for historians who wish to analyse the material culture of Henry VIII’s court: apparent throughout the text is the range of goods considered essential for a Renaissance prince, including clothes, furs, and jewels. A spectrum of information about the operations of Henry VIII’s life and domain lies within the text, including how the king chose to pass on contents of the queen’s jewel coffer from one wife to the next. The Inventory provides further information about the King’s private life by recording the objects – 21 chests’ worth! – with which he travelled. The document covered 17,810 entries in total, and was so large it needed to be bound in two volumes. The first volume was sold at auction in 1790 to the Society’s Treasurer, John Topham ‘with the avowed intention of publication’, reflecting the Society’s own aims and prerogatives.

Artist / Maker
Acquired by Gustavus Brander FSA (d. 1787) from a Mr Maskell; acquired for the Society by John Topham, Society Treasurer in 1790
Manuscript, ink on paper
38.4 x 29.7 cm
Burlington House
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Catalogue Record