Four Years at the Court of Henry VIII
Sebastian Giustinian (1460–1543) served as the Venetian ambassador to the court of Henry VIII between 1515 and 1519, during which time he sent back frequent and detailed dispatches to the Signory of Venice. In 1515, when Giustinian arrived at the English court, Henry was only twenty-four and described as 'expert in arms, and of great valour, and most excellent in his personal endowments'. In this first of two volumes, Guistinian's letters paint a vivid portrait of a diplomat's life at court, covering treaty negotiations, meetings with Cardinal Wolsey, and the personal qualities of the monarch and his queen. Translator and editor Rawdon Lubbock Brown (1806–83) had an unrivalled knowledge of the Venetian archives: he was the first historian to appreciate the importance of the dispatches sent from London by the Venetian ambassadors. His edition of Giustinian's correspondence provided an entirely new insight into Henry's reign when it was first published in 1854.