Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy

Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy

Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy

Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy

Synopsis

This standard work, long out of print, discusses every English royal entry, festival, disguising, masque, and tournament, from the accession of Henry VII to the coronation celebrations of Elizabeth I. The study of court festivals, spectacle, and civic pageantry in Renaissance Europe has now developed into a major academic industry, so that the market for authoritative works on these themes extends far beyond the boundaries of conventional scholarly disciplines. Spectacle, Pageantry and Early Tudor Policy was a pioneering work and remains the only comprehensive and analytical treatment of its subject.

Excerpt

London had excelled itself with the pageants for Katharine of Aragon's entry: yet the series, despite its originality, unfortunately was developed no further. the subsequent major pageant series of the Early Tudor period--for the Emperor Charles V, for Anne Boleyn, for Edward vi, for Mary, for Philip and Mary, and for Elizabeth I--are, by comparison, disappointing in their lack of a complex theme and imagery, and in their diffuseness. They seem to have derived nothing from the example of 1501. At court, too, the marriage celebrations were sumptuous and original: but, unlike the pageant series, they proved prophetic of the future. And, as far as can be judged from the meagre evidence for the preceding years, both the tournament and the court disguisings show features which were entirely new in England.

From the thirteenth century onward, the tournament throughout Europe had developed as a form of artistic expression. the element of real combat had been increasingly sacrificed to the elements of display and disguising--that is the dressing up of combatants in fanciful and exotic costumes--and, in its most highly developed form, the tournament became an incipient drama in which the participants represented particular characters and even uttered speeches, so that the actual fighting would arise from a dramatic dispute or allegorical story. These elements had been developed on the Continent, and especially at the Burgundian court which set the fashion for western Europe in matters of courtly magnificence, elaborate ceremonial, and public spectacle. in England, disguising at tournaments had been popular in the fourteenth century during the reign of Edward III: but the fifteenth century, disturbed by civil strife, witnessed a decline in public spectacle and court entertainments. Certainly the few surviving descriptions of court revels under Edward iv

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