The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics

The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics features around 100 objects. This includes almost 70 works from the National Portrait Gallery, a selection of additional loans, and paintings from the Walker Art Gallery’s collection. It is the first time such a significant number of the National Portrait Gallery’s renowned Tudor portraits have been lent for exhibition. The Walker’s show will follow a smaller exhibition of 25 works at The Holburne Museum in Bath in January, with both exhibitions encompassing some of the most famous portraits from the National Portrait Gallery’s Tudor collection.

The exhibition presents the five Tudor monarchs, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, some of the most familiar figures from English history and instantly recognisable in the portraits that have preserved their likenesses for 500  years. The dynasty’s reign over sixteenth-century England, from 1485 to 1603, encompassed the tumultuous years of the Reformation; a literary renaissance; conflict with Scotland, France and Spain; conquest and colonisation in Ireland and America; and the expansion of England’s global reach through piracy and trade. This major exhibition at the Walker will explore the Tudors from a range of perspectives. It will spotlight some historically underrepresented aspects of the period, including Black Tudor history and LGBTQ+ history.

A range of iconic figures from the period will also be exhibited, including Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Mary Queen of Scots, and William Shakespeare. Some of the works included in the exhibition have never been shown outside of London, including a portrait of Jane Seymour, after Hans Holbein the Younger, and the highly unusual Sir Henry Unton portrait.

Some highlight loans in the exhibition are the Westminister Tournament Roll, produced in 1511, the Roll celebrates the birth of Henry VIII’s son with Katherine Aragon, Henry, who died in infancy. This spectacular document was last on public display almost 20 years ago and never seen outside London. Another incredible loan is the Bacton Altar Cloth which new research suggests is an item from Elizabeth I’s wardrobe, making it the only known surviving example of her clothing. The Bristowe Hat is also being loaned to the exhibition, the hat provides a very rare example of Tudor or early Stuart fashion. Lastly, the Armada Maps will also be on display in the exhibition, recently saved for the nation, these drawings illustrate the dramatic conflict between the Spanish Armada and English fleet off the south coast of England in 1588.

This is a ticketed event. Tickets cost: Adult £13; Concessions £12; Child £6.


Caption: Henry VIII by Hans Holbein der Jüngere (1540, Galleria nazionale d’arte antica, Rome); photographer Architas. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence


Further information:
  • Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
  • Location  Walker Art Gallery, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EL
  • How to get there By train: Liverpool Lime Street – Wirral and national services, Moorfields station – Northern line services (Southport – Hunts Cross), Liverpool Central – Wirral and Northern line services; By car: the Walker is in the city centre, close to the entrance to the Queensway Tunnel and Lime Street Station – follow the directions to Liverpool Lime St station where there is a car park just opposite the Walker Art Gallery in William Brown Street; By bus: nearest bus stations are Queens Square bus station and Liverpool One bus station
  • Further information 0151 478 4199