Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance: Essays in Honour of J.R. Mulryne, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance

Essays in Honour of J.R. Mulryne, 1st Edition

Edited by Margaret Shewring


474 pages

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As the first book-length study of waterborne festivities in Renaissance and early modern Europe, this collection of essays draws on a rich array of sources, many previously un-researched, to explore aspects of scenography, choreography, music, fashion, painting, sculpture, architecture, stage-and personnel-management and urban planning as evinced in spectacles staged on water. Bodies of water in all their variety are explored here: seas, rivers, fountains, lakes and canals and flooded improvised locations within or adjacent to great buildings all provided stages for elaborate and costly performances, utilising the particular qualities of water to reflect light and distort sound. The volume encompasses festivals marking a wide range of occasions from the election of civic officials, the welcome of a monarch, an investiture or coronation, to ambassadorial visits or the arrival of a royal or ducal bride or bridegroom. Often taking the form of re-enactments of naval battles or legendary seaborne quests, these festivals seek to buttress civic and national pride, make claims to mastery over the sea and landscape, and explore the imaginative as well as practical life of performance space which has been a hallmark of the research and publication of this volume's honorand, J.R. (Ronnie) Mulryne.


’This engaging and insightful collection of essays is a testament to the work of J. R. Mulryne, which it celebrates by bringing together a rich, wide-ranging variety of contributions on water festivals in Renaissance Europe. As the first book-length study on this topic, the collection makes available a wealth of inspiring new scholarship which showcases previously unexplored material, putting into perspective the prevalence of water festivals across Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenths centuries…an enlightening and readable collection of essays that very usefully brings together a wide-ranging and exciting selection of material, with much to offer cultural historians and literary scholars.’ Renaissance Studies ’Readers seeking information about waterborne pageantry in any of these regions will find a wealth of information and rich occasions for further study here.’ Early Theatre

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Margaret Shewring; French Renaissance waterborne festivals in the 16th century, Richard Cooper; Lyon: a centre for water celebrations, Margaret M. McGowan; Parisian waterborne festivals form Francis I the Henri III, Monique Chatenet; Water festivals in the reign of Charles IX of France, R.J. Knecht; Renaissance Venice and the sacred-political connotations of waterborne pageants, Evelyn Korsch; Rex Christianissimus Francorum: themes and contexts of Henry III’s entry to Venice, 1574, Iain Fenlon; Water policy and water festivals: the case of Pisa under Ferdinando de’ Medici (1588-1609), Maria Ines Aliverti; Arbitrary reality: fact and fantasy in the Florentine Naumachia, 1589, J.R. Mulryne; Lepanto revisited: water-fights and the Turkish threat in early modern Europe (1571-1656), Marie-Claude Canova-Green; Mary, Queen of Scots’ aquatic entertainments for the wedding of John Fleming, 5th Lord Fleming to Elizabeth Ross, May 1562, Pesala Bandara; Looking again at Elvetham: an Elizabethan entertainment revisited, H. Neville Davies; The ice festival in Florence, 1604, Mary M. Young; The Thames en fête, Sydney Anglo; Royal river: the Watermen’s Company and pageantry on the Thames, Michael Holden; The ambassador’s reception: the Moroccan embassy to London, 1637-1638 and the pageantry of maritime politics, Iain McClure; The Savoys' naumachia on the Lake Mont Cenis: a site-specific spectacle in the ’amphitheatre’ of the Alps, Melanie Zefferino; Naumachiae at the Buen Retiro in Madrid, David Sánchez Cano; Waterfront entertainments in Saxony and Denmark from 1548-1709, Maria R. Wade; Sea spectacles on dry land: the 1580s to the 1690s, Roger Savage; Sing again, Sirena: translating the theatrical virtuosa from Venice to London, Eric Nicholson; Sailing towards a kingdom: Ernst August von Braunschweig-Lüneburg (1629-1698) in Venice in 1685 and 1686, Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly; Index.

About the Editor

Dr Margaret Shewring is Reader in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick. Her teaching, research and recent publications concentrate on the performance context for Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Renaissance and Early Modern European festivals and the design of space for performance on the contemporary stage. She was co-general editor of the two volume Europa Triumphans: Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe (Ashgate, 2004; e-book 2010) and a co-investigator for the digitised collection of Renaissance festival books on the website of the British Library. She is co-founder of the Society for European Festivals Research and joint general editor, with J.R. Mulryne and Margaret M.McGowan of the new Ashgate Series of European Festival Studies.

About the Series

European Festival Studies: 1450-1700

This series, in association with the Society for European Festivals Research, builds on the current surge of interest in the circumstances of European Festivals – their political, religious, social, economic and cultural implications as well as the detailed analysis of their performance (including ephemeral architecture, scenography, scripts, music and soundscape, dance, costumes, processions and fireworks) in both indoor and outdoor, urban and court locations. Festivals were interdisciplinary and, on occasion, international in scope. They drew on a rich classical heritage and developed a shared pan-European iconography as well as exploiting regional and site-specific features. They played an important part in local politics and the local economy, as well as international negotiations and the conscious presentation of power, sophistication and national identity. The series, including both essay collections and monographs, seeks to analyse the characteristics of individual festivals as well as to explore generic themes. It draws on a wealth of archival documentary evidence, alongside the resources of galleries and museums, to study the historical, literary, performance and material culture of these extravagant occasions of state.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
MUSIC / History & Criticism