Henry VIII strides out of the painting, his unwieldy gold chain glittering, his eyes staring glassily ahead, a severed female head held aloft behind him, and seems to intone the title of the painting itself – So It Is Decreed And So It Shall Be Done. If the title seems a bit too extravagantly theatrical to be genuine Tudor, it’s because it is: Henry’s dead eyes and tumbling jowls are those of his Madame Tussauds mannequin, painted by Nathan Cash Davidson in a style of semi-detached sarcasm. In Davidson’s paintings, historical and imagined narratives are told as though half-heard, half-understood, but the space in his works is conversely overstuffed, both gesturally and pictorially, like the dummy Henry with his enormous shoulders.

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