The Inventory is not only a catalogue of magnificence but also a key text for evaluating the successes and failures of the Tudor monarchy under Henry VIII, telling us what once existed, and enabling us to identify surviving objects.
The Inventory is not only a catalogue of magnificence but also a key text for evaluating the successes and failures of the Tudor monarchy. Henry VIII had extravagant ideas of image and authority and loved his possessions, amongst which where over 2,000 pieces of tapestry, 2,028 items of gold and silver plate and 41 growns. Although he left the country with heavy debts and an empty exchequer, he was far from bankrupting the monarchy as some scholars have suggested. Indeed the Inventory allows us to calculate that at the time of his death the contents of his palaces and wardrobes were worth about £300,000 and the military and naval stores a further £300,000. Most of what the King owned has unfortunately since disappeared. Yet the Inventory tells us what once existed, enables us to identify surviving objects and also helps once belonged to hem. The transcription of the inventory is accompanied by a historical introduction, a glossary of technical terms, and an exhaustive Index which is a major tool of scholarship in its own right.