Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance
Margaret Shewring (éd.)
Margaret Shewring (éd.), Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance, Routledge, 2016, £34.99
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.