Thomas Wolsey was England's leading statesman, churchman and patron of the arts for a period of over fourteen years. In that time England played a greater role in European politics than she had done for a century or more; there were bold initiatives in domestic government; the church faced the call for reform and the challenge of heresy; and the influence of the Renaissance was felt strongly in many areas of English culture. In this fully-illustrated volume, eleven expert contributors assess Wolsey's role in all these developments, from his patronage of music, sculpture, stained glass, goldsmiths' work and domestic and collegiate architecture, through his handling of the church and the criticism it evoked, to his management of politics, central and local government, and foreign affairs. A general introduction sets the individual chapters in context by evaluating the whole range of Wolsey's ministerial responsibilities and achievements, and his part in the early English Renaissance. It also sets him in his proper context by comparing him in detail with other cardinal-ministers active in the European states of the day. In examining Wolsey's career in all its aspects - not least the cultivation of artistic magnificence which so struck his contemporaries - this volume provides a fuller and more balanced understanding of Wolsey's impact on early Tudor England and of his significance in a dramatic and controversial period of history.