Skip to main content Skip to navigation


SEFR Book Series

European Festival Studies: 1450–1700

Founding Series Editors: J. R. (Ronnie) Mulryne (University of Warwick, UK), Margaret Shewring (University of Warwick) and Margaret M. McGowan (University of Sussex, UK).

Current Series Editors: Margaret Shewring (University of Warwick, UK), Marie-Claude Canova-Green (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK) and Richard Cooper (University of Oxford, UK).

The series, in association with the Society for European Festivals Research, builds on a current surge of interest in Early Modern European Festivals – their political, religious, social, economic and cultural sources and influence. It also offers analysis of their performance characteristics (including temporary architecture, scenography, scripts, music, dance, costumes, processions and fireworks), whether in indoor or outdoor, urban or court, locations.

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 documentary evidence, alongside the visual and performative resources of galleries and museums, to study the historical, literary, performance and material culture of these extravagant occasions of state.

Series Publications with Brepols (from 2019)

In 2019 the European Festival Studies Series moved to Brepols. With our new publishers, our Series Publishing Manager for Brepols Guy Carney, and our Series Advisory Board we aim 'to provide academics, advanced students, museum and gallery curators and archivists with scholarly commentary on Festivals in Early Modern Europe, based on extensive documentary and pictorial research, and to encourage new scholars to contribute to the development of the series topic'.

Series Publications Advisory Board: Maria Ines Aliverti. University of Pisa, Italy; Sydney Anglo, FBA, FSA, University of Wales, UK; Richard Cooper, University of Oxford, UK; Iain Fenlon, University of Cambridge, UK; Bernardo J. Garcia Garcia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; Maartje van Gelder, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Pieter Martens, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; R. L. M. Morris, University of Cambridge, UK and Elaine Tierney, Research Institute, Victoria & Albert Museum, UK.

Former Series Advisory Board Member: Professor Noel Fallows, FSA, University of Georgia, USA.

In Print

Margaret M. McGowan, Festival and Violence: Princely Entries in the Context of War, 1480--1635 (2019). ISBN 978-2-503-58333-4

Giovanna Guidicini, Performing Spaces: Triumphal Entries and Festivals in Early Modern Scotland (2020). ISBN 978-2-503-58541-3

Marie-Claude Canova-Green and Sara Wolfson (eds), The Wedding of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625: Celebrations and Controversy (2020). ISBN 978-2-503-58532-1

R. L. M. Morris, Court Festivals in the Holy Roman Empire, 1555--1619: Performing German Identity (2020). ISBN 978-2-503-58329-7

Margaret M. McGowan and Margaret Shewring (eds), Charles V, Prince Philip, and the Politics of Succession: Festivities in Mons and Hainault, 1549 (2020). ISBN 978-2-503-58615-1

Monique Chatenet, Murielle Gaude-Ferragu, and Gerard Sabatier (eds), Princely Funerals in Europe, 1400--1700: Commemoration, Diplomacy, and Political Propaganda (2021). ISBN 978-2-503-58743-1

In Preparation

R. L. M. Morris (ed.), Crossing Boundaries: Festival and Diplomatic Encounters in the Early Modern World 

Margaret M. McGowan and Melanie Zefferino (eds), The Role of Courtly Spectacle in the Politics of the House of Savoy (1450--1750)

Margaret M. McGowan, Harmonium Mundi: Spectacle and the Quest for Peace in the Sixteenth Century

Leila Zammar, Opera, Scenography, and Power: Festival Entertainments at the Barberini Court of Rome, 1628--1656

Bram van Leuveran, Marc W. S. Jaffé and Alexander Robinson (eds), Marginalised Voices and figures in French Festival Culture

Ivo Raband and Sabrina Lind (eds), Step by Step: Visualising and Asserting Power in Early Modern Joyous Entries and Festivities in the Netherlands, 1500-1750

Mary Young, Florentine Water Festivals 1608--1619: The Arno River as a Stage for Medici Propaganda

Iain Fenlon, Noisy Cities: The Festive Soundscape of Early Modern Italy

Books published in the Series from 2013 to 2019 first by Ashgate and then by Routledge; all now available from Routledge at


Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance: Essays in Honour of J.R. Mulryne

Edited by Margaret Shewring (University of Warwick, UK), assisted by Linda Briggs (University of Warwick, UK). Contributors: Richard Cooper, Margaret M. McGowan, Monique Chatenet, R. J. Knecht, Evelyn Korsch, Iain Fenlon, Maria Ines Aliverti, J. R. Mulryne, Marie-Claude Canova-Green, Pesala Bandara, H. Neville Davies, Mary M. Young, Sydney Anglo, Michael Holden, Iain McClure, Melanie Zefferino, David Sánchez Cano, Mara R. Wade, Roger Savage, Eric Nicholson, Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly. Published in 2013. 474 pages ISBN hb. 9781409400233; pb. 9781138277014; eBook 9781315234281


Dynastic Marriages 1612/1615: A Celebration of the Habsburg and Bourbon Unions

Edited by Margaret M. McGowan (University of Sussex, UK). Contributors: J. H. Elliott, Nicolas Le Roux, David Sánchez Cano, Maria Ines Aliverti, Marie Baudière, Monique Chatenet, Patrice Franchet d’Espèrey, Iain Fenlon, Paulette Choné, Margaret M. McGowan, Marie-Claude Canova-Green, Chantal Grell, J. R. Mulryne. Published 2013. 328 pages. ISBN hb. 9781409457251; pb. 9781138246584; eBook 9781138246584.


Ceremonial Entries in Early Modern Europe: The Iconography of Power

Edited by J. R. Mulryne (University of Warwick, UK), with Maria Ines Aliverti (University of Pisa, Italy) and Anna Maria Testaverde (University of Bergamo, Italy). Contributors: Richard Cooper, Linda Briggs, Margaret M, McGowan, Marie-Claude Canova-Green, Anna Maria Testaverde, Lucia Nuti, Julia de la Torre Fazio, Veronika Sandbichler, Jacek Źukowski, Margaret Shewring, Sara Trevisan, Jucinda H.S. Dean, Andrea Sommer-Mathis. Published 2015. ISBN hb. 9781472432032; eBook 9781315571140.


Architectures of Festival in Early Modern Europe: Fashioning and re-fashioning Urban and Courtly Space

Edited by J. R. (Ronnie) Mulryne (Warwick), Krista De Jonge (K.U. Leuven), Pieter Martens (K.U. Leuven) and R. L. M. Morris (Cambridge). Contributors: J.R.Mulryne, Krista De Jonge, Mårten Snickare, Richard Cooper, Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen, Felicia M. Else, Lucinda H. S. Dean, Martina Frank, Elaine Tierney, Sydney Anglo, Marie-Claude Canova-Green, Francesca Mattei, Katharina Bedenbender, Veronika Sandbichler, Andrea Sommer-Mathis, Pauline Lemaigre-Gaffier. Published 2018. 352 pages. ISBN: 9781472432001.

 Occasions of State image

Occasions of State: Early Modern European Festivals and the Negotiation of Power

Edited by J. R. (Ronnie) Mulryne (Warwick), Krista De Jonge (K.U. Leuven), R. L. M. Morris (Cambridge) and Pieter Martens (K.U. Leuven). Contributors: J. R. (Ronnie) Mulryne, R. L. M. Morris, Robert J. Knecht, Borbála Gulyás, Chantal Grell and Robert Halleux, Berta Cano-Echevarría and Mark Hutchings, Fabian Persson, Nikola Piperkov, Margaret M. McGowan, Maartje van Gelder, Francesca Barbieri, Paul Schuster, Joanna Norman, Tim White. Published 2019. 287 pages. ISBN: hb. 9781472431974

Prefatory matterLink opens in a new window


The Politics of Water in the Art and Festivals of Medici Florence: from Neptune Fountain to Naumachia. Felicia Else (Gettysburg College, Washington D.C.), Monograph. July, 2018.

This book tells the story of one dynasty's struggle with water, to control its flow and manage its representation. The role of water in the art and festivals of Cosimo I and his heirs, Francesco I and Ferdinando I de' Medici, informs this richly-illustrated interdisciplinary study. Else draws on a wealth of visual and documentary material to trace how the Medici sought to harness the power of Neptune, whether in the application of his imagery or in the control over waterways and maritime frontiers, as they negotiated a place in the unstable political arena of Europe, and competed with foreign powers more versed in maritime traditions and aquatic imagery.


Related Festivals Scholarship published by Ashgate and Brepols


Court Festivals of the European Renaissance, edited by J. R. Mulryne and Elizabeth Goldring

Festivals were occasions to which Early Modern European courts devoted lavish resources. They marked all manner of state events and were charged with political, economic and cultural significance. The essays in this volume, by an international group of 20 contributors, explore all of these aspects, with specific reference to festivals in England, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Eastern Europe. (Aldershot and Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2002). ISBN 0 7546 0628 7. The conference from with the book stems (September 2000) was financially supported by the European Science Foundation through its European Research Conferences series.



Europa Triumphans is a two-volume collection of Renaissance Festival Books, edited by J. R. Mulryne, Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly and Margaret Shewring. Associate Editors Elizabeth Goldring and Sarah Knight. An impressively wide-ranging piece of scholarship, it comprises 1135 pages, with 44 texts of differing length in 9 languages, plus 145 black and white and 23 colour illustrations. All texts are given in their original languages, with an en face translation into English. Each of the eight groups of texts is prefaced with an introductory essay and accompanied by a detailed commentary. In addition to the General Editors there are 33 further principal contributors from universities across Europe and the USA, and more than 20 other contributors, including translators. Published by Ashgate (Aldershot and Burlington VT, 2004). ISBN: hb. 0 7546 3873 1.

Reviews of the printed version:

'...will be a priceless resource.' - Sehepunkte 5

'The methodology established by the editors and its execution by the contributors is exemplary.' - English Historical Review

'...the editors deserve the highest praise for the ambitious, two volume production that includes contributions from thirty-nine well-published scholars. The beautifully designed tomes...the editors are to be congratulated.' - Sixteenth Century Journal

‘the project is immense in scope, and the quality of its scholarship very high indeed’ – Renaissance Quarterly


The Cultivation of Monarchy and the Rise of Berlin: Brandenburg-Prussia 1700, edited by Karin Friedrich and Sara Smart

This volume makes available for the first time a selection of the diverse printed and visual materials relating to the elevation of Prussia to monarchic status at the start of the eighteenth century. In their introduction to the documents, the editors explore the historical, political and cultural context of the rise of the Hohenzollerns and the significance of the 1701 coronation of Friedrich III as King in Prussia. The materials provided in the original, as well as in English translation, are wide-ranging. Points of focus include the dynasty's cultivation of the arts and learning, its festive culture, the structure of the court and the nature of Friedrich's reign. Particular attention is given to the ceremonial procedure and festivities surrounding his coronation recorded by the court poet, Johann von Besser.Published by Ashgate (Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010). ISBN: 978-0-7546-0997-1.


Performativity and Performance in Baroque Rome, edited by Peter Gillgren and Mårten Snickare

A new interest in the study of early modern ritual, ceremony, formations of personal and collective identities, social roles, and the production of meaning inside and outside the arts have made it possible to talk today about a performative turn in the humanities. In Performativity and Performance in Baroque Rome, scholars from different fields of research explore performative aspects of Baroque culture. With examples from the politics of diplomacy and everyday life, from theatre, music and ritual as well as from architecture, painting and sculpture the contributors demonstrate how broadly the concept of performativity has been adopted within different disciplines. Published by Ashgate (Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012). ISBN: 978-1-4094-2099-6.


Writing Royal Entries in Early Modern Europe, edited by Marie-Claude Canova-Green and Jean Andrews with Marie-France Wagner

Royal and ducal entries into major cities were an important aspect of political life in Renaissance and early modern Europe and the New World. These festivities provided an opportunity for the municipal authorities to display their wealth, learning, political nous and aspiration, while allowing writers, painters, sculptors, architects, set-designers, scene-painters, dancers, musicians, choreographers, and others an unparalleled opportunity to showcase their wares. The essays in this volume cover a range of royal and ducal entries. Each essay tackles an aspect of the business of putting together an entry festivity, discusses a particular difficulty posed for the contemporary scholar by the extant documentation, or offers a consideration of issues central to the development of this type of festivity or the literature associated with it. The entries and royal progresses of members of the Habsburg, Medici, Valois, Bourbon, and Tudor dynasties are examined, as are the festivities commissioned and mounted by powerful and strategically-important cities such as Berlin, Antwerp, Paris, Florence, London and Mexico City to welcome these great personages or their marginally less elevated ducal representatives (Published by Brepols, Turnhout, 2013). ISBN: 978-2-503-53602-6.

Digital Resources

British Library Treasures in Full

This site includes 253 digitised Early Modern festival books, in full or excerpted, each annotated and introduced. The digitised books are available on the British Library’s website under the designation Treasures in Full, Renaissance Festival books.

Principal investigators: J.R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring (University of Warwick) and, for the British Library, Kristian Jensen.

Research Fellows: Sarah Cusk and Alexander Samson.

Funded by a grant from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Board/Council.

Early Modern Festivals Books Database

This database presents more than 3000 festival books published between 1500 and 1800 in 12 languages.

It is an expanded and fully revised version of the bibliographical and historical handbook by Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly and Anne Simon, Festivals and Ceremonies. A Bibliography of Works Relating to Court, Civic and Religious Festivals in Europe 1500--1800 (London: Continuum, 2000).

During 2011, a grant from the Oxford University Press/John Fell Fund (Oxford University) enabled the material to be turned into a fully-searchable database. The database provides links to digitized versions of the festival books wherever such a version exists.

Principal Investigator: Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly. Research assistant: Madelaine Brook. Database Consultant: Andrew Slater.

Reviews of some of the Festivals publications listed above:

Europa Triumphans (for publication details of these volumes see above):

Divisé en deux luxueux volumes, l’ouvrage … est un pur produit … Cet ouvrage exemplaire qui, destiné à durer, deviendra un précieux instrument pour la recherché. Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaisssance. Tome 67 (2005).

Der Wert dieser Quellen liegt vor allem in ihren politisch-sozialen Botschaften an die gemeineuropäische höfische Öffentlichkeit … Kurzum – eine in jedem Sinne wertvolle Edition, und es ist zu hoffen, dass ihr hoher Anschaffungspreis die immer kleineren deutschen Bibliotheksetats nicht überfordert. Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 34/ 1 (2007)

This massive and handsome compilation of 1,202 large pages prints the original texts, with facing translations, of 44 descriptions of court or civic festivals between 1543 and 1734 … This comprehensiveness points up and helps correct a degree of provinciality in much of the work in this field, and is one of the ways in which the publication will open new ground in the study of Early Modern festivals. The volumes also contain expert essays on the political contexts of the various festivals and on their theatrical, visual, and musical components. Parergon 22.2 (2005).

Specialists can use these volumes to broaden their research horizon to include examples from languages and regions they hitherto necessarily neglected … Research seminars for advanced students studying courts and ceremonies can profit from the introductions as well as from the translations; for them, Europa Triumphans will be a priceless resource.

Court Festivals of the European Renaissance:

The Renaissance Festival is a burgeoning field of enquiry. This stimulating volume … documents a major contribution to that growth … it contains generous annotations throughout … Moreover, it is brimming with intellectual challenges. Sixteenth Century Journal XXXV/ 2 (2004).

This ambitious collection of essays presents a broad view … with a geographical span that stretches from England to Eastern Europe and a conceptual span that includes large issues of etiquette as well as minute details of planning and performance … Excellent introductory essays trace the rise of scholarly interest in festivals … An extremely useful roadmap to the fullness of the subject. Highly Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. Choice Vol 41 No. 03 (November, 2003).

Dynastic Marriages

By bringing together 14 different contributions that analyse the Habsburgs and Bourbons unions from different disciplines, the editor proves that it is essential to discuss dynastic marriages from an interdisciplinary perspective…This book is and will remain a crucial contribution to the field and something that anyone working on dynastic marriages, early modern diplomacy, and popular culture should take into account. Reviews in History, 2013

For over five decades, Margaret McGowan’s writings on the interpretation of intellectual, cultural and artistic developments in early modern France have helped shape our understanding of the potent connection between court spectacles and state building. H-France Review Vol. 14 (2014).

This collection of fourteen scholars representing different disciplines illuminates brilliantly and uniquely the multi-faceted significance of dynastic marriages in early seventeenth-century Europe, especially France and Spain. Robert Knecht, University of Birmingham, UK.

 Writing Royal Entries

…. This is a good and necessary volume. It is good because of the quality of the individual contributions and because of its large scope in a geographical and in a chronological sense; it is necessary because of its new subject matter and its textual and textualizing approach, as well as because of its specific concentration not on entries but on entry texts. It thereby fills an important gap in our knowledge of the entry-phenomenon. Publisher’s Reader (for Brepols, publisher of this volume).

Royal Entries were necessarily extravagant, put the provider into debt, employed many people and so were, in theory, good for the economy, while a town with a gift for diplomacy might obtain highly desirable privileges. This volume has four main themes: the status of the printed records; their use as propaganda; their use as historical records; and the transformations that they underwent in different places and times … It is difficult to select particular chapters for praise as all have their attraction for particular places and times. Parergon 31.1 (2014)

Waterborne Pageants:

 As the first book-length study on this topic, the collection makes available a wealth of inspiring new scholarship which showcases previously unexplored material… The volume … moves to acknowledge the complexity of water festivals as ephemeral spectacles, literary documents, records of socio-political negotiations and much more … [and] opens up a wealth of directions for future research. Renaissance Studies (2014).

This dense and detailed collection of case studies provides an authoritative overview of waterborne festivities in Renaissance Europe. [The chapters view] the waterborne festival as an emblem of state power and the ability of the monarch or city to control the uncontrollable element … The collective argument of these very distinct case studies implies that Renaissance political power relied upon its imaginary conquest of watery space. Early Theatre 18.1 (2015).

Ceremonial Entries:

The 14 essays in the beautifully produced Ceremonial Entries in Early Modern Europe: the Iconography of Power discuss different kinds of entries in various countries [including France, England, Scotland, Italy, Spain and Poland] … What the book lacks is an overview that would stand back from these very specific events and, perhaps by using recent work on the performative aspects or on ritual and ceremonial, would enable the reader to understand how these interactions between ruler and ruled actually functioned. The Art Newspaper Number 272, October 2015.

[The Early Modern ceremonial entry as discussed in this book reprises] a ceremony that goes back to the Roman adventus ritual in which an emperor entered Rome in triumph [and comes up to] the present … with the rain-soaked water pageant for Elizabeth II in 2012. [The book offers an analysis of] many disparate and dazzling events in many different territories across [the] centuries. History Today, August 2015.