In this work R. Malcolm Smuts examines the fundamental cultural changes that occurred within the English royal court between the last decade of the sixteenth century and the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642.
"Smuts's great strength is his grasp of the politics of the age. . . . At every point he is able to buttress his arguments about Charles I's 'cultural policy' by reference to Charles's social, economic, and foreign policy."—Journal of Modern History
"The book's virtues are numerous. Smuts, a historian, has read widely, pulling together much valuable information while offering intelligent insights of his own. . . . Particularly valuable is the book's emphasis on the social and factional complexity of the court and thus of the art it produced and consumed."—Sixteenth Century Journal
"Smuts's book deserves a wide readership. Provocative in the best sense of the word, it challenges the reader at every turn and offers a running commentary on possibilities for future research."—Journal of British Studies
"The sharpest feature of this book is that it takes poetry, pictures, and architecture seriously by seeing these as major items of historical testimony. . . . An engaging and sensitive study."—American Historical Review