Bluff King Hal, magnificent Eliabeth, innocent Princes in the Tower, beautiful, tragic Lady Jane Grey or Mary Queen of Scots on the scaffold, Cavaliers and Jacobites- the doomed handsome heroes of a lost cause- that is how we think of them. The spell they cast is one of reality amplified by the history painting of the Victorian age. Yet these paintings and so many others, for example those depicting the Wounded Cavalier, King Charles and Nell Gwyn, Alfred and the cakes have been ignored or despised by art historians and critics under the modernistic influence. Now in this enthusiastic, pioneering study, Roy Strong shows how and why - through a unique alliance between painter, antiquarian and historian - these works came into being. He separates the fanciful recreations from the accurate reconstructions of the past, pinpoints the sources and identifies such literary parallels as the medieval romances of Walter Scott and charts the origins and course of the popular taste for history.
Sir Roy Strong was educated at the University of London, and the Warburg Institute. He joined the staff of the National Portrait Gallery in 1959 and became its Director from 1967-1973. He was Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum from 1974 to 1987 when he resigned to become a full-time writer, broadcaster and consultant. His books include The Story of Britain, The Spirit of Britain, and most recently, Feast- A History of Grand Eating.