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A view fit for a king

PUBLISHED: 10:22 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:33 25 August 2010

EXPERTS have reconstructed a window from the reign of King Henry VIII to form the centrepiece of a £6 million exhibition.

EXPERTS have reconstructed a window from the reign of King Henry VIII to form the centrepiece of a £6 million exhibition.

A window from the Royal Tudor Palace of King Henry VIII has been recreated on the site of his famous palace on the exact day Henry died, 463 years ago on 28 January, 1547.

The window, reconstructed from stonework excavated on the site of Tudor Palace, is one of the unique exhibits in Discover Greenwich at The Old Royal Naval College, a new permanent exhibition exploring the history of the area, due to open on March 23.

Alfred Fisher, who worked on the project, said: "One of the tricky things about recreating glass from this period is that windows were made by individual craftsmen, each with their own design quirks and methods.

"The lions on the Royal Arms in particular are all very different - ranging in position to expression - from smiles to scowls. We've overcome this by incorporating different styles through the reconstruction of what is almost a 500-year-old design."

It took a team of three expert glaziers and designers six months to recreate the windows.

Mr Fisher added: "We used traditional medieval techniques, including the ironwork that supports the windows. It was a real thrill putting them back into the window frames from Henry's own Royal Palace and seeing them in the exhibition space."

The replica stained glass shows two coats of arms; on the left, the royal arms of Henry VIII show the Tudor crown at the top with the alternating white and red Tudor roses of York and Lancaster.

The rose beneath the crown is half white and half red. The arms of Anne Boleyn, on the right, are among the most complex ever devised and reflect the King's desire to enhance the status of his new wife.

The design incorporates the arms of several English and French noble families, and a motif of interlocking initials, H and A. The arrival of Anne Boleyn at Greenwich Palace as queen in 1533 led to all the Palace windows being re-glazed, as her arms and badges replaced those of Catherine of Aragon.

Only three years later, Anne was executed and the King's master glazier was replacing Anne's arms and badges with those of the new queen, Jane Seymour.

Chief executive of The Old Royal Naval College, Duncan Wilson OBE, said: "The window is a good example of how Discover Greenwich will use modern archaeological methods and artefacts to bring the history of the area to life.


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