500 years ago today marked the start of The Field of Cloth of Gold – a spectacular festival that took place in 1520 near Calais as part of a summit between King Henry VIII of England and King François I of France.
The intention was to increase the bonds of friendship between the two countries. They met in a field near Calais to enjoy games, feast on fine meats and drink from a perpetually flowing wine fountain. Due to the splendour of the temporary golden pavilion that was built, the event came to be known as ‘The Field of Cloth of Gold’.
In 1520 Leeds Castle was a royal Castle owned by Henry VIII and was thought to be used as a stopover by both him and Catherine of Aragon on their way to Dover. Its close proximity to London and its large estate and hunting grounds made the Castle an attractive draw for the royal couple.
Later in the year, a series of new displays will explore the Castle’s connections to The Field of Cloth of Gold. Although the original oil painting of this monumental event rests with the Royal Collection, visitors will be able to get up close to an exact replica in the Castle’s Banqueting Hall during 2020 which will sit proudly alongside Leeds Castle’s loan painting of ‘The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover’.
In the mean time click on the link below to see our online display about ‘The Field of Cloth of Gold’.
Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust – © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II