Nonsuch Palace: The Material Culture of a le Restoration Household.

Nonsuch Palace: The Material Culture of a le Restoration Household.

Martin Biddle.

Hardback, 544p, 229 b/w illus, 81 tbs (Oxbow Books 2005)

Nonsuch in Surrey was Henry VIII's last and most fantastic palace. Begun in 1538, at the start of the 30th year of Henry's reign, the palace was intended as a triumphal celebration of the power and the grandeur of Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty. The site was chosen for its fine countryside and hunting potential. Although the layout was fairly typical for a house of this period, arranged around two main courtyards, there its 'ordinariness' ends. The palace was ornately decorated with intricate Renaissance designs in carved and gilded slate and plasterwork, with two great octagonal towers, five storeys high at either end. The king wanted people to be astonished at his new palace, and to say that they had never seen such a fine palace before, hence its name - 'Nonsuch.' Excavations in 1959-60 uncovered a large amount of material from all periods, from occupation to demolition (1538-1684). The finds fall into two categories: architectural and domestic. This volume, the second in the series, publishes the domestic finds, including a large amount of complete or reconstructible glass, ceramics (such as tin-glazed wares, stoneware and earthenware), coins and tokens, clay pipes, pewter vessels, objects of iron, bone, ivory and leather, and a wooden pocket sundial. 

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