Parliament of Henry VI at Reading Abbey in 1453
Oil on canvas by Stephen Reid - 1920
The painting depicts the Parliament which opened on 6 March 1453. It is based on an illustration of the English Parliament dated 1523 and shows Henry VI heading the House of Lords in the Refectory of Reading Abbey. This session of Parliament was cut short by an outbreak of plague.
The Parliament shown here took place in the Refectory of the Abbey and shows the Lords spiritual and temporal and the Commons in their places. The Archbishop of Canterbury is shown in the painting but did not actually attend. The session of Parliament was short. A few taxes were granted to the king and a force of 20,000 archers to be maintained by ‘the countries, cities and towns according to their substance’.
This is one of ten paintings illustrating important events in the history of Reading Abbey. They were commissioned from 1909 onwards by Dr Jamieson Boyd Hurry, a local doctor with a particular interest in Reading Abbey.
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