Image: Detail of a Tapestry by Francois Spiering, signed and dated 1604, hanging at Warwick Castle. (Note – This tapestry was almost certainly purchased by Sir Fulke Greville.)
I am very happy to announce my article entitled “We scarcely call these things our own” – Sir Fulke Greville’s curious collection has just been published in the Sidney Journals Special Issue: Fulke Greville and the Arts. It attempts to examine the interesting collection and aesthetic ambitions of Fulke Greville (1554-1628), 1st Baron Brooke, who is primarily treated in the academic spheres as a poet.
Abstract: Little work has ever focused on the role of Greville as a patron of the fine and decorative arts. However, a surviving inventory dating from 1630 illustrates that he owned an extravagant collection of artworks including paintings, musical instruments, arms and armour, maps, furniture, ceramics as well as exquisite tapestries. Greville’s luxurious surroundings paint a rather different picture to his dark and sombre Elizabethan portrait, the image which has come to define this enigmatic poet, collector, builder and gardener. The poet’s connections to the East India Company most likely accounts for the vast amount of colourful damasks, drapery, exotic wood furniture and other imported materials encountered within his homes. The restoration and improvements at Warwick Castle, the impressive medieval fortress he was bestowed in 1604, further illustrates his aesthetic and dynastic ambitions through the medium of architecture. His London residences, one potentially designed by Inigo Jones, were equally filled with curious objects and ornamented with lavish fountains and gardens.
A. Busiakiewicz, “We scarcely call these things our own – Sir Fulke Greville’s curious collection” in Sidney Journal, vol.35, no.1-2, 2017, pp. 47-76.