THE art of the reigns of Elizabeth and James I is of a higher standard than is generally admitted, but it has very few great names and not many outstanding works, and its history cannot be told in the form of biographies of its artists. English society was changing rapidly at this time, and the changes in English art can be adequately explained only when they are related to the forces and counter-forces that were then maturing in England at large. Despite our imperfect knowledge of the period, and the many unresolved controversies about it amongst historians, an attempt at such an explanation is overdue. I am well aware that I could not have begun without the earlier labours of other men and I trust that this may serve as an acknowledgement to all those of my predecessors that I have not elsewhere referred to. If there is any man who finds that I have borrowed his ideas without a thank you, I hope that he will not regard it as proof of wilful plagiarism, but of an influence that has gone so deep that I have become unconscious of it.
Her Majesty the Queen has graciously permitted me to reproduce works of art in her collections. I wish also to thank the following for similar permissions: the Duke of Bedford, the Duke of Portland, the Marquess of Salisbury, the Earl of Derby, Earl Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Radnor, the Earl of Verulam, Lord Tollemache, Lt.-Col. Sir Edmund Bacon, Brinsley Ford, Esq., Loel Guinness, Esq., Sir Westrow Hulse, R. H. G. Leveson-Gower, Esq., Hon. Robin Neville, Hon. Clive Pearson, Derek Sherborn, Esq., Col. V. N. Stopford Sackville, Trustees of the late A. J. C. Wall, Esq., Oliver Watney, Esq., the British Museum, the Bodleian Library, the Cleveland Museum, the Ministry of Works, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Tate Gallery. For their help so generously given in various ways I am indebted to Mr. J. W. Goodison, Sir James Mann, Mr. Robert Sherlock, Mr. Lawrence Stone, Dr. Pamela Tudor-Craig, and Professor E. K. Waterhouse, and to the staff of the National Buildings Record and of the