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T+L Reports: British Royals

In the 15th century, the British upper classes began to flaunt their status and newfound mercantile wealth, emblazoning their crests and likenesses on everything from windows to candlesnuffers. "Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547," at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, displays 300 objects from this restless, striving period: portraits of nobles by foreign-born artists, such as German painter Hans Holbein and Italian sculptor Pietro Torrigiano; stained-glass windows and manuscript illuminations depicting their anonymous creators' royal patrons; intricate family emblems engraved on swords and silverware, inlaid in pottery tiles, and woven into tapestries shot through with gold. The era's elite even took their vanity to the grave: life-sized effigies and carved gravestones show the deceased surrounded by kin, crests, and favorite mythical beasts (October 9- January 18).
—Eve M. Kahn

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