Life Among the Tudors

Themes for the classroom: European history; British History; culture during the Renaissance period; art history; political history; the Tudor Dynasty; the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; language and literacy arts; storytelling; art making; technology.

This augmented reality (AR) experience focuses on the portrait of Sir Henry Unton, one of the most celebrated paintings in the National Portrait Gallery, London’s world-renowned Tudor collection. In this highly unusual painting, Unton’s life story is revealed through nine unique scenes which surround a central portrait of this soldier and diplomat from the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Users can bring the painting into their own classroom, home, or office, either placing it on the wall or on a free-standing easel. Charlotte Bolland, National Portrait Gallery’s 16th Century Collections Curator, narrates the experience, sharing background stories and details about the politics of the time, Unton’s own interpersonal relationships, and Tudor conventions. The Elizabethan ethos is further evoked through period music and a particular focus on a dramatic courtly pageant, known as a Masque.