Tracey Hill
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‘A day of well Compos’d Variety of Speach and shew’
Bringing the Shows to life
in Pageantry and power

The Lord Mayor's Show was a renowned spectacle that drew a vast audience from home and abroad. This chapter discusses, inter alia, the actors' roles, the props, music and costumes used during the Show and how the pageantry was staged. It looks at how important emblems and imagery were to these productions. Heraldic emblems were an important part of the symbolic lexicon of Lord Mayor's Day. The stages, wagons, chariots, barges and so on were used to convey pageantry composed of elaborate, often highly symbolic content. Henry Machyn is our only source of eyewitness information about the pageantry employed in the 1550s and early 1560s. Anthony Munday dealt with the water show in unusual depth in his mayoral Shows, which taken alongside other texts such as Londons loue suggests that this was an aspect of civic pageantry in which he took an particular interest.

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Pageantry and power

A cultural history of the early modern Lord Mayor’s Show, 1585-1639


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