Prince of the Renaissance: François I

  • England 1973, (Constable and Rainbird, Paladin paperback, History Book Club):
  • USA, 1973 (Macmillan), 1974 (History Book Club of America)


The title originally envisaged for this book was ‘The King of Patrons’, since the reign of François I (1515-47) was a continuous pageant in which two brilliant cultures came together – Gothic France and the Italian Renaissance. A supreme patron of the arts, his court painters included Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Sarto, he bought works by Raphael and Michelangelo, Benvenuto Cellini was his jeweller, he founded the College de France, and collected a library that became the Bibliotheque Nationale. He built palaces that not even Versailes could overshadow. No ruler has had more influence on French civilisation.This book recreates François’s personality, the politics and patronage of his turbulent reign, his court and his mistresses.

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Reviews of: Prince of the Renaissance: François I

  • Lively, informative, admirably illustrated biography

    Anthony Powell, The Daily Telegraph
  • Popular in the best sense … the author writes with dramatic emphasis and appealing clarity.

    Marina Vaizey, Financial Times
  • A sound, brilliantly readable short life.

    Vincent Cronin, Washington Post Book World