Through military encampments for siege, battle and
tournament, culminating in pleasure pavilions, created for special events.
The apogee of these is surely the “Field of Cloth of Gold”,
the famous summit meeting of Henry VIII and his rival, Francis I of France,
renowned its fantastic tents. Here, at vast expense, the two kings had
opportunity to compare their rich clothes and jewels, good looks and prowess
in sport in a temporary city where Henry’s largest pavilion of wood,
canvas and glass was over 300 feet square and Francis had a sixty foot
pavilion of gold damask, lined with blue velvet embroidered with fleurs-de-lys!
Pleasure pavilions of more modest proportions would be used for hunting
parties and picnics, and also for providing such al fresco entertainments
as banquets, plays and masques for visiting royalty and nobility. On state
occasions they housed those guests who could not be accommodated elsewhere.
Here, a charming detail from a fifteenth century German tapestry shows
a couple playing at cards in a delightful pavilion set in a flowery garden.