Much has been written concerning the masques presented at court during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but no attempt has hitherto been made to present a comprehensive and detailed survey of their staging. My endeavour in this book is to examine the work of Inigo Jones and his fellow 'architects' in the light of contemporary Italian theatre practice for the purpose of determining so far as such a determination is possible--the precise methods employed in the production of these royal entertainments. Naturally, in this task I owe much to previous studies, in particular the work of Rudolf Brotanek, Paul Reyher, Enid Welsford, Percy Simpson, W. J. Lawrence, and Lily B. Campbell; but I trust that I have been able, by special attention devoted to one single aspect of Renaissance theatrical activity, to add to the results of their researches.
In the preparation of Stuart Masques and the Renaissance Stage I have been greatly aided by the resources of the recently established Theatrical Collection of Yale University, instituted by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. In connexion with the work of gathering material for this collection I was enabled to make a complete photographic record of the Inigo Jones designs preserved at Chatsworth, as well as the exceedingly informative drawings of contemporary Turin ballets. Thousands of other Renaissance sicetches have been similarly photographed for the collection by Mr George Kernodle, Mr Stanley McCandless, Mr John M'Dowell, and Mr Clark Mendum. Most of the prints used for the illustrations here were made by Mr Mendum. Of these illustrations all but about half a dozen have never hitherto been reproduced.
The stage directions from masque libretti are for the most part quoted from the original quartos; for masques by D'Avenant and Jonson, however, I have used the folios of their works, except in a few instances where the quarto provides material not printed in the folio text. In quoting these stage directions I have modified the original punctuation and modernized the use of u and v.
For permission to make use of the Inigo Jones designs I wish to thank his Grace the Duke of Devonshire; in obtaining access to these I owe much to the kind co-operation of Mr Francis Thompson, librarian at Chatsworth. I am indebted for much courteous assistance to the authorities of the British Museum, the Bodleian Library, and Yale University Library. Mr Allan H. Bright, of Barton Court, Colwall, kindly put at my disposal his comprehensive collection of emblem books, thus considerably facilitating my work in that field. My thanks are due as well to the man--Continental libraries--notably the Biblioteca Nazionale of Turin, the Uffizi and the Biblioteca Nazionale of Florence--where permission was granted for the copying of original designs and engravings.