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Inner Worlds Environment   Identity Designing Spaces and Places

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England, Higham Manor, Suffolk, The Tudor Room
About the Artist

England, Higham Manor, Suffolk, Tudor Room
England, Higham Manor, Suffolk, Tudor Room

This room was taken from Higham Manor in Suffolk, England. Higham Manor was constructed during the Tudor period, around 1600. Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII, reigned at the time this room was in use. Both Queen Elizabeth I and King Henry VIII were from the Tudor family, which is why this type of architecture is called Tudor.

As a profession, architecture did not exist in England until the 17th century. Many members of the upper classes were amateur architects, however, and they often designed their own houses with the help of a master mason or carpenter. In a typical floor plan the ground level contained the parlors or sitting rooms, hall, kitchen, larder, pantry, a long gallery for games or exercise and, perhaps, a dancing room. The second floor contained the bedrooms while the attic held rooms for servants and laborers, and storage.

Up until this time, country houses were constructed of heavy oak timbers joined with mortar, referred to as half-timber construction. Local materials were still primary but, by 1570, many houses were being biult of brick. Bricks could be colored and molded into ornate shapes, suiting the new tastes for decoration, or placed in elaborate patterns. Brick construction made the new buildings lighter and easier to put up, and allowed load-bearing walls to be opened with large expanses of glass windows.

During the reigns of Elizabeth I and her successor, James I, more houses were built that at any other time in the history of England. Agricultural prices were high and thus the income of the landed aristocracy (the largest single class group aside from the peasantry) was also high, enabling families to spend on building. New fortunes were also being amassed in industry and trade by members of the rising middle class. Both classes saw building as a highly visible means of exhibiting wealth and social standing, and competed among themselves to construct the biggest or most elaborate houses.

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Inner Worlds | What Is Art? | Environment | Designing Spaces and Places | Identity
About the Art | About the Artist | Discussion Questions/Activities | Teacher Lessons