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SEFR Book Series

European Festival Studies: 1450–1700

Founding Series Editor: J.R. (Ronnie) Mulryne (University of Warwick, UK)

Current Series Editors: Margaret Shewring (University of Warwick, UK), Margaret M. McGowan (University of Sussex, UK) and Marie-Claude Canova-Green (Goldsmiths, University of London).

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.

Books published in the Series (Ashgate; now available from Routledge):


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. Forthcoming late 2018. 287 pages. ISBN: hb. 9781472431974

Prefatory matter


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.


Future volumes in the Festivals Series include:

Marie-Claude Canova-Green and Sara Wolfson (eds), Celebrations for the Wedding of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625. This volume stems from a conference held at the Queen’s House, Greenwich, in 2012.
Monique Chatenet, Murielle Gaude-Ferragu and Gerard Sabatier (eds), Princely Funerals in Europe 1400–1700.
Margaret M. McGowan and Margaret Shewring (eds), Imperial Festivities in Mons and Hainault, 1549 (working title). This stems from a conference in Mons, October 2015.
Margaret M. McGowan, Festivals and Violence: princely entries in the context of war, 1480-1635. Monograph.

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.

Future Publications

The following are under active consideration for publication by our new Publisher, Brepols:

  • Marie-Claude Canova-Green and Sara Wolfson (eds), Celebrations for the Wedding of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625.
  • Margaret M. McGowan, Festivals and Violence: Princely Entries in the context of War, 1480–1635 (monograph).
  • Monique Chatenet, Murielle Gaude-Ferragu and Gerard Sabatier (eds), Princely Funerals in Europe 1400–1700.
  • Margaret M. McGowan and Margaret Shewring (eds), Imperial Festivities in Mons and Hainault, 1549 (working title).
  • R.L.M. Morris, German Identities in the Court Festivals of German-speaking Lands c.1519-1650 (monograph; working title).
  • Giovanna Guidicini, Performing Spaces: Triumphal Entries and Festivals in Early Modern Scotland (monograph).
  • R.L.M. Morris (ed.), Crossing Boundaries: Festival and Diplomatic Encounters in the Early Modern World (working title).
  • Mary Young, Florentine Water Festivals in the Seventeenth Century (monograph; working title).
  • Leila Zammar, Opera, Scenography and Society: the Barberini Court in Rome, 1628-1656 (monograph; working title).
  • Melanie Zefferino, Dramatic Figures in the Venetian Republic: Performance, Patronage and Puppets (monograph; working title).
  • Margaret Shewring, The Active Spectator: Popular Agency in Processional Festivals of Late Medieval and Early Modern Britain and France (monograph: working title).

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.