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Stone handaxe
THIS small handaxe is one of the most beautiful in the British Museum. It is made from quartz with attractive amethyst banding, a difficult material from which to make tools because it is extremely hard. The toolmaker would have had to hit with considerable force and accuracy to remove flakes. Such a high degree of difficulty makes the thin, symmetrical shape of this piece a masterpiece of the toolmakers’ art.
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Stuarts and House of Orange
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Stuarts and House of Orange
IN 1603, ENGLAND WAS READY to welcome its first Scottish monarch, and James I was equally ready to embrace London's pleasures after the dourness of Calvinist Scotland. The union of Crowns promised a new and greater Britain. Yet under the Stuarts, England - and to a lesser extent Scotland - was almost torn apart by religious and political division. The Jacobean age (from Jacobus, Latin for James) was a darker, more questioning time than the era of Tudor optimism.

Some Puritans risked a perilous voyage to the New World in search of religious freedom; at home, Catholics were seen as potential - if not actual - traitors. James I survived assassination; his son Charles I went to the scaffold and the nation came under non-royal rule as a 'Common-wealth'. After the adventures of exile, Charles II returned as king to enjoy 'all kinds of pleasure', but his Catholic brother James II was forced out of the country in 1688. And so the Crown passed to James's daughter, Mary, and her Dutch husband, William of Orange, and subsequently to Queen Anne, last of the Stuarts.

Stuarts and House of Orange


The 17th century saw the Civil War won by Cromwell and his Ironsides, the Great Plague in 1665 and Great Fire of London the following year. It produced the true-life epic of the Mayflower pilgrims, and John Milton's poetic epic Paradise Lost. It was lit by the careers of Christopher Wren and Isaac Newton, and diverted by innovations such as telescopes and tea-drinking. When Queen Anne died in 1714, her German cousin George of Hanover arrived to take the Crown, though the exiled Stuarts still had cards to play.

CIVIL WAR SMOKE AND FURY
A re-enacted musket volley. Loading and firing Civil War handguns was laborious, but musket balls caused heavy casualties.

Stuarts and House of Orange


THE QUEEN'S HOUSE AT GREENWICH
In 1616, Inigo Jones planned a Palladian-style house for Queen Anne, wife of James I, on the site of the old Tudor palace at Greenwich. The Queen's House was not completed until 1635, for Charles I's queen, Henrietta Maria.

Stuarts and House of Orange




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