Friday, December 21, 2018

Question from Jacky - Windsor badge and motto

In the first edition of 1751 of LEncyclopdie (Volume 17, pp. 623-626), Louis de Jaucourt, at the entry "Windsor", writes: Voluptueux, fougueux, capricieux, cruel, & sur-tout opinitre dans ses desirs, il ne laisse pas que davoir sa place entre les rois clebres, & par la rvolution quil fit dans les esprits de ses peuples, & par la balance que lAngleterre apprit sous lui tenir entre les souverains. Il prit pour devise un guerrier tendant son arc, avec ces mots, qui je dfends est matre, devise que sa nation a rendu quelquefois vritable, sur-tout depuis son regne. Voluptuous, fiery, capricious, cruel, and above all obstinate in his desires, he desires his place among the celebrated kings, and by the revolution which he made in the minds of his people, and by the scale which England learned under him to hold between the sovereigns. He took for motto a warrior tending his bow, with these words : "which I defend is master," a motto which his nation has sometimes rendered true, especially since his reign. I can find no reference to this badge and this motto in the English texts that I consult. Who can help me ? Thanks in advance.


PhD Historian said...

If I may clarify, Jacky quotes a paragraph that describes Henry VIII, and that paragraph is contained within a larger article on the history of the town of Windsor. The entire article is found in "Encyclopedie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers" published in 1751. The text of the article was authored by Louis de Jaucourt, a French medical doctor who served as one of several editors of and contributors to the Encyclopedie.

A more correct translation of the motto is: He whose part I take is master.

The motto is associated with Henry VIII in numerous secondary sources, all of which are either in French or cite a French-language original. I am not able to find any source for the motto that was written originally in English. But according to the French secondary sources that I am able to find, the motto was adopted at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1521 and is associated solely with that event. A quick check of the detailed description of the meeting as contained in Hall's Chronicle fails to reveal mention of this specific motto, though the Chronicle *does* mention other mottos used by Henry VIII during and specific to the meeting now referred to as the Field of Cloth of Gold. Those other mottos are described as being embroidered on various costumes and hangings that could be seen by those in attendance, not unlike a modern political "talking point" or campaign slogan. In the instance of this motto, the secondary sources imply that Henry adopted the motto as a strategic expression of his acute awareness of his own newfound status on the international political stage: through his chose of ally among the two leading powers of Europe (Francis I of France versus Charles of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire), Henry effectively held the ability to make that monarch “master” of Europe. It thus appears that Henry deployed the motto at the meeting with Francis as a means to pressure Francis into agreeing to Henry’s conditions for a continuing alliance (in effect, “Give me what I want and I will make you the supreme power in Europe”).

Again, Henry appears to have used the motto only at the Field off Cloth of Gold and only as a kind of campaign slogan specific to that event. I cannot find any evidence that he adopted it as any sort of permanent personal motto.

LORETTE said...

Dear PhD Historian

I thank you for your very thorough answer that I discovered with a little delay.

I could not go back before this text of Jaucourt to find the source of the motto. But after him, some French historians take up this formula (Thiers, Michelet, and more recently Bernard Cottret in his book La royauté au féminin. Élisabeth Ire, Fayard, 2009) without mentioning its context and the drawing that accompanied it: a warrior tending his bow.

The only one who seems to do so is, curiously, Guillaume Apollinaire: "Opposite the Palace, a great wild figure had been erected, which bore the coat of arms of the race of the King of England, and he himself had indicated it. Proud inscription: '' The one I support wins. '' « Vis-à-vis du Palais, on avait dressé une grande figure de sauvage qui portait les armoiries de la race du roi d’Angleterre et lui-même en avait indiqué l’inscription orgueilleuse : ‘’Celui que je soutiens l’emporte.’’

Guillaume Apollinaire, Pages d’histoire : chroniques des grands siècles de la France, Les Arts graphiques, 1912.

The Apollinaire’s track will allow to find the source text, perhaps in the pages of Sanuto because Apollinaire was born in Italy in 1880 and lived there until 1887, before living in Monaco where he studied 1887 to 1895, before Cannes and Nice. It was not until 1900 that he moved to Paris.

I am currently working on a book about The Field of the Cloth of Gold, and your answer explains the difference in the sentences that day after day adorned the clothes of the two kings and their tournament companions. For Henry VIII, a message of European strategy, for Francis I the narration of his loves.

I am currently stumbling on the expression "Così l'orso sarà" that Francis exhibits on June 19th. "Orso" or "arso"? The bear or the burn?

I am also looking to support my interpretation of the tapestries of The Lady and the Unicorn (The Lady is Mary Tudor Brandon) a portrait of Henry VIII wearing hair in small strands on the forehead as Francis I on the following portrait of Joos van Cleve:

That of Henry VIII by the same painter does not have locks.

I present you and all those who are dear to you all my best wishes for the year 2019.
All my best wishes also to all the readers of this so rewarding site.
Jacky Lorette

PhD Historian said...

I would translate the Italian phrase as "Thus the bear will be" or "So the bear will be." But from what I am able to discover, the phrase is an abbreviated form of a common Italian idiomatic expression. That is, "Così l'orso sarà" is only the first part of a full-sentence aphorism, the full meaning of which was easily understood upon hearing/reading only the beginning of the sentence. That full sentence is "Così l'orso sarà ridestato dalla primavera," or "Thus the bear will (be) reawaken(ed) in the spring." I presume the meaning of the whole to be something like the English aphorism "All things in due time."

Unfortunately, I am not able to understand your reference to the tapestries. The most commonly known Lady and the Unicorn tapestries date to circa 1500, long before Henry Tudor became King of England, and even longer before Frances became King of France.

LORETTE said...

I support the last forty years that the mysterious lady with the unicorn that is exposed in the Cluny Museum in Paris is Mary Tudor Brandon, Henry VIII's sister, Queen of France by marrying Louis XII and Duchess of Suffolk by marrying Charles Brandon.
To convince you, I invite you to a trip to our common past.