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

The London Lord Mayors' Shows were high-profile and lavish entertainments that were at the centre of the cultural life of the City of London in the early modern period. The Show was staged annually to celebrate the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor. The London mayoralty was not simply an entity of civic power, but always had its ritual and ceremonial dimensions. Pageantry was a feature of the day's entertainment. This book focuses on the social, cultural and economic contexts, in which the Shows were designed, presented and experienced, and explores the Shows in textual, historical, bibliographical, and archival and other contexts. It highlights the often-overlooked roles of the artificer and those other craftsmen who contributed so valuably to the day's entertainment. The Show was the concern of the Great Twelve livery companies from the ranks of one of which the Lord Mayor was elected. The book discusses, inter alia, the actors' roles, the props, music and costumes used during the Show and looks at how important emblems and imagery were to these productions. Pageant writers and artificers took advantage of the space available to them just as dramatists did on the professional stage. From 1585 onwards the Lord Mayor's Show was with increasing frequency transmitted from event to text in the form of short pamphlets produced in print runs ranging from 200 to 800 copies. The book also demonstrates the ways in which the Shows engaged with the changing socio-economic scene of London and with court and city politics.

The writers, the artificers and the livery companies
Tracey Hill

2 ‘Our devices for that solemne and Iouiall daye’: the writers, the artificers and the livery companies Planning the look and content of the Shows was a complex and expensive business. Such events, Mulryne has written, ‘represent a remarkable coming-together of organisational and management skills . . . [including] the task of harnessing and co-ordinating the talents of writers, musicians, scenographers, choreographers’, as well as performers.1 In addition, being the creator of a Lord Mayor’s Show was often (although not always) a contested position, where

in Pageantry and power
The Show from street to print
Tracey Hill

important aspects of the Shows. The fundamental question to be considered is, when we talk of the Lord Mayor’s Show, what entity do we actually mean? The performance, the printed text or some ambiguous combination of the two? Building on the large and growing body of knowledge about the London book trade, this chapter will explore who the printers and The Show from street to print 215 publishers of the texts were and what connections they may have had with the writers, artificers and/or the livery companies.4 I will also address the questions of where and by whom the

in Pageantry and power
Critical and historical contexts of the Lord Mayor’s Show
Tracey Hill

events, also survive – in a more complex way than one might assume – in the printed texts often produced as part of the event. These texts were produced by a body of professional writers, including Thomas Middleton, Thomas Dekker, Anthony Munday, Thomas Heywood, John Taylor and John Webster, who worked in collaboration with artificers and others to design and stage the entertainment. The Shows have a presence elsewhere in early modern culture too, featuring, often satirically, in a wide range of other dramatic and prose works. Their heyday (and the period covered by

in Pageantry and power
Bringing the Shows to life
Tracey Hill

, as Paster comments, that, unlike masques, Shows were not presented in entirely appropriate venues: ‘with all the visual and acoustical difficulties of an open-air procession’, she writes, ‘the pageant poet faced severe handicaps’.5 The dimensions and acoustics of the locations of the pageant stations varied too, from open spaces like Paul’s Churchyard to narrow streets like Soper Lane, off Cheapside, to cramped conditions like the river banks. Pageant writers and artificers took advantage of the space available to them just as dramatists did on the professional stage

in Pageantry and power
Open Access (free)
John Lydgate’s ‘Soteltes for the coronation banquet of Henry VI’
Heather Blatt

Girouard, Life in the English country house: a social and architectural history (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 33. For the sacral borrowings of Westminster Hall, see Christopher Wilson, ‘Rulers, artificers, and shoppers: Richard II’s remodelling of Westminster Hall, 1393–99’, in The regal image of Richard II and the Wilton Diptych, ed. Dillian Gordon, Lisa Monnas, and Caroline Elam (Coventry: Harvey Miller, 1997), 33–59. (In contrast, the now-destroyed Archbishop’s Palace at Canterbury, itself the location of significant feasts, measured 126 by 42 feet – half

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
Open Access (free)
The wall texts of a Percy family manuscript and the Poulys Daunce of St Paul’s Cathedral
Heather Blatt

not only the national and religious elites of king and pope, ladies and abbesses, but also the civic and familial members of society, from mayors to artificers and servants.56 The architecture of the space functions with the text to create a landing site that elicits such connections, even as the environment of St Paul’s – audible to those in the Pardon Churchyard to view Poulys Daunce, and known to those familiar with the city – still furthered readers making such connections. As readers confronted the Poulys Daunce, these details of the landing site of cloister

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
The ends of incompletion
Chloe Porter

emerging from Adam’s side into the light of a blazing Tetragrammaton situated directly behind the pair. The use of the Tetragrammaton in the portrayal of divine creation acutely highlights the difficulties attendant on visual depictions of acts of ‘making’ in this period. God is frequently referred to as an ‘artificer’, ‘workman’, he who ‘framed’ the earth, and yet even this originary creator

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama
Chloe Porter

colours’ for the benefit of ‘all yong gentleman’ as well as ‘Serving for the necessarie use and generall benefite of divers Trades-men and Artificers, as namely Painters, Joyners, Free-masons, Cutters and Carvers’. 14 One of Peacham’s later works, The Compleat Gentleman (1622), discusses ‘Drawing and Painting in Oyle’ as one of the many practices appropriate for gentlemen, in addition to ‘Cosmography

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama
The unknowable image in The Winter’s Tale
Chloe Porter

to assist with the formation of bodies from chaotic matter, although ‘we do not actually see her doing this’ in Silvestris’s text. 74 Nature appears onstage as a goddess and artificer in John Lyly’s The Woman in the Moon , which was entered into the Stationer’s Register in September 1595, and may have been performed in the early 1590s. 75 Significantly, Lyly’s play opens with an appropriation of

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama