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This painting depicts the 'Plucking of the Red and White Roses in the Old Temple Gardens'. It was an event that supposedly happened in the mid-fifteenth century but in all likelihood was produced by Tudor propagandists and popularised by Shakespeare. The uncertain historical basis of the scene was acknowledged by commentators in the late 1900s, but the reason for its inclusion becomes clear in regard to the symbolism which Tudor propagandists attributed to it. The purpose of this propaganda was to celebrate the Tudor dynasty not only as the legitimate heirs to the Yorkist and Lancastrian Houses (the protagonists in what became known as the 'Wars of the Roses') but the union of these Houses through marriage of the Lancastrian Henry Tudor (Henry VII) with Elizabeth, the daughter of the Yorkist King Edward IV.
Plucking the Red and White Roses in the Old Temple Gardens
oil on canvas
H 205.7 x W 210.8 cm