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Research Team Tackles 5000 Royal Commemorative Books

Originally published - 14 June 1999

We are all familiar with the mountains of commemorative literature and merchandise that seem to mark Royal events today from weddings to funerals, but this is by no means a new idea. From as early as the 14th century lavish Festival Books have been produced to feed the constant appetite for marking royal celebrations and royal deaths. Now a University of Warwick Professor and his research team have been charged with producing a 1000 page selection of these festival books.

Professor Ronnie Mulryne, from the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick, has been granted just over ?144,000 by the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Board to direct a team of UK, US and continental European scholars to research and produce a representative collection of the best Festival Books from the renaissance and after.

No more than a handful of these Festival Books have ever been republished in modern form, and those few have concentrated mainly on Italy, France and Germany. Some of the Festival books to be examined in the project include The Entry of the Princess of Orange into Amsterdam (1660), The Coronation of Henry III as King of Poland (1574) and The Funeral of Queen Ulrike Elenore of Sweden (1693). This research will look particularly at royal and civic celebrations in those parts of Europe, and the European colonies, that have been neglected up to now - especially, the Netherlands, Poland, Lithuania, Genoa, Denmark, Sweden, and the New World.

Once the two volume book is complete the research team will continue their work with a series of further research publications and conferences on the subject, and will maintain an active network of academic researchers interested in this field. The European Science Foundation has also just announced a further grant of 25,000 euros to fund the first such conference in September 2000. This is a particular achievement as ESF funding is normally reserved for science and social science based subjects.

Note for editors: The research team is co-directed by Professor Mulryne, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick, and Dr Helen Watanabe O'Kelly of Oxford University. The team includes Dr Margaret Shewring and Dr Peter Davidson from the University of Warwick.

For further details please contact:

Professor Ronnie Mulryne
Centre for the Study of the Renaissance
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL
tel: 024 76 523667 Office 01789 205774 Home