‘Would the Scandal Vanish with My Life’: John of Gaunt in Two Tudor Afterlives, Jessica Fure
Two artefacts produced during the Tudor era, both depicting John of Gaunt, convey a surprisingly unified tone despite the difference in date and medium. The Beaufort Portrait shows Gaunt's dynastic ambitions and hints at the noble character established for him in Tudor lore. Shakespeare’s characterisation of Gaunt from Richard II culminates in the iconic deathbed speech, one of the most-quoted descriptions of England in literature, makes Gaunt, in his own words, a prophet, eulogising his country's greatness as part of his family's legacy, and taking the peace of England with him when he dies. In each work, Gaunt appears positioned as a vital part of England's history, a noble founder of England's ruling family.