By Maev Kennedy
Museum pays £1m for Joris Hoefnagel's painting showing palace in Surrey which was built to rival home of French king
The earliest image of one of the most romantic lost buildings of England, a fairytale castle bristling with towers and spires built by Henry VIII, then demolished after 130 years to settle the gambling debts of a royal mistress, has been acquired by the V&A museum for £1m.
The watercolour, painted by the Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel in 1568, shows the palace which was built as a spectacular hunting lodge to outshine Fontainebleu, the French palace of Henry's contemporary and great rival Francois I. It was built on the original site of the village of Cuddington, near Cheam in Surrey, which was moved and its medieval parish church flattened to make way for the palace.