Staging the Henrician Court : Costume

This page last changed on Dec 07, 2009 by Eleanor Rycroft.

The costuming of the actors was a particular area of focus for our research because of the existence of historical evidence and a growth of interest in material culture for Tudor studies generally. Yet, where evidence is found in Hall's Chronicle, Cavendish's 'Life of Wolsey' and the extant Revels Office accounts, the picture painted was often contradictory and centred on the spectacular pageants in which the King was sometimes involved rather than the performances of plays and dialogues by members of the royal household. From the available evidence we decided that the costumes should represent the estates realistically rather than allegorically or symbolically, and made the intervention of using less sumptuous fabrics the lower down the social scale the characters descended in order to tell the story clearly to the audience.