The Field of Cloth of Gold is a famous painting that shows the time when King Henry VIII met with François I of France in 1520.
It was a very significant meeting as the two were rivals! Henry had actually tried to invade France in 1513 and François I had fought against him.
The point was for England and France to become friends and improve the relationship between the two countries and their leaders.
The whole thing was basically a huge party! It lasted 18 days and there were feasts, tournaments, and parties and it all happened in a camp of temporarily built palaces and tents!
It was such a huge moment in Henry’s life that he commissioned a painting to be done of the meeting which is what you can see at the top of this page.
Explore the painting
There was a Dragon at the meeting!
It just wasn’t real, it was a kite filled with fireworks that was pulled along by a rope attached to a wagon.
The meeting happened in France but Guînes was an area nearby the site that was owned by the English.
King Henry VIII would sleep here at night.
Here you can see the king entering the meeting.
He wanted to be seen as very grand and important which is why he (ad horse) is wearing lots of real gold!
There was lots of wine and beer at the meeting.
There was so much that the English actually built a fountain that flowed with beer and wine rather than water!
The temporary palace
Henry really wanted to show off so he had a temporary palace built!
It was mainly made from wood and canvas that was painted to look like a real palace.
Henry VIII meeting François I
This is the famous moment that the two leaders actually met at François I’s tent.
François I had a very impressive tent made, it was 120ft tall and covered in cloth of gold and topped with a 6ft tall gilded statue of St Michael!
The painter has shown the two kings meeting at this tent, but actually, the tent blew away before the meeting happened due to bad weather!
Jousting was one of the most popular sports at the time, it was definitely one of Henry’s favourites.
He and François I joisted on the same team so they didn’t have to face each other. That would have been bad as the idea was for them to become friends, that might not have happened if one was embarrassed by the other by losing.
You can also see the kinds along with their wives here. Queen Katherine of Aragon and Queen Claude of France.
The Queens played an important part, they entertained during feasts and awarded knights with prizes.