1st Edition

Early Modern Court Culture

Edited By Erin Griffey Copyright 2022
    608 Pages 116 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    608 Pages 116 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Through a thematic overview of court culture that connects the cultural with the political, confessional, spatial, material and performative, this volume introduces the dynamics of power and culture in the early modern European court.

    Exploring the period from 1500 to 1750, Early Modern Court Culture is cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, providing insights into aspects of both community and continuity at courts as well as individual identity, change and difference. Culture is presented as not merely a vehicle for court propaganda in promoting the monarch and the dynasty, but as a site for a complex range of meanings that conferred status and virtue on the patron, maker, court and the wider community of elites. The essays show that the court provided an arena for virtue and virtuosity, intellectual and social play, demonstration of moral authority and performance of social, gendered, confessional and dynastic identity.

    Early Modern Court Culture moves from political structures and political players to architectural forms and spatial geographies; ceremonial and ritual observances; visual and material culture; entertainment and knowledge. With 35 contributions on subjects including gardens, dress, scent, dance and tapestries, this volume is a necessary resource for all students and scholars interested in the court in early modern Europe.


    Erin Griffey

    Part I: People and political structures: Connecting power

    1. Monarchs: Kings and queens regnant, sovereign princes and popes 

    Ronald G. Asch

    2. Consorts and court ladies

    Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly

    3. Wider kinship networks

    Jonathan Spangler

    4. Courtiers, ministers and favourites

    R. Malcolm Smuts

    5. Confessors

    Nicole Reinhardt

    6. Aristocrats and nobles 

    Hamish Scott

    7. Diplomats

    Tracey A. Sowerby

    Part II: Place and space: Negotiating the court

    8. Access

    Dries Raeymaekers

    9. Princely residences

    Elisabeth Narkin

    10. Gardens

    Paula Henderson

    Part III: Ceremonial and ritual: Observing tradition

    11. Religious rituals and the liturgical calendar

    Paolo Cozzo

    12. Childbirth

    Erin Griffey

    13. Marriages

    Joan-Lluís Palos

    14. Coronations

    Paul Monod

    15. Receptions: Triumphal entries, ambassadorial receptions and banquets

    R.L.M. Morris

    16. Funerals

    Jill Bepler

    Part IV: Visual and material culture: Furnishing the palace

    17. Metalwork

    Sean Roberts

    18. Tapestries

    Guy Delmarcel

    19. Upholstered furnishings, cabinet work and gilt furniture

    Olivia Fryman

    20. Portraiture

    Lisa Mansfield

    21. Display

    Andrea Bubenik

    22. Porcelain rooms

    Meredith Martin

    Part 5: Material culture: Dressing the body

    23. Jewellery

    Natasha Awais-Dean

    24. Male dress

    Timothy McCall

    25. Female dress

    Jemma Field

    26. Beauty

    Erin Griffey

    27. Scent

    Holly Dugan

    Part VI: Entertainment and knowledge: Performing authority

    28. Science

    Alisha Rankin

    29. Theatre and opera

    Sophie Tomlinson

    30. Dance

    Jennifer Nevile

    31. Literature

    Tom Bishop

    32. Music

    Andrew H. Weaver

    33. Tournaments and hunting

    Glenn Richardson

    34. Food and dining

    Ken Albala

    35. Games and jokes

    Johan Verberckmoes



    Erin Griffey is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Auckland and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. She is a specialist in early modern visual and material culture and has published widely on the Stuart court, including On Display: Henrietta Maria and the Materials of Magnificence at the Stuart Court (2016). Her other books include the edited collection Sartorial Politics in Early Modern Europe: Fashioning Women (2019). She is writing a monograph entitled Facing Decay: Beauty, Wrinkles and Anti-Aging in Early Modern Europe.

     'A welcome and thorough comparative exploration of early modern court culture, this volume steers the reader expertly through the power structures, spaces, and cultures of European courts. With an emphasis on the material, the sensory, and the spatial, the essays bring the field of court history up to date and showcase it as a vibrant field of study. A must for every early modern reading list.'

    Nicola Clark, University of Chichester, UK