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Prince Henry's sweet tooth? How to shop for a 1612 banquet and bring it alive in the present

Banner: extract from Willem Claesz. Heda, ‘Still Life with a Gilt Cup’ (1635). Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Banquet source

Webinar with Dr Sara Pennell, associate professor of early modern history at the university of Greenwich, UK,
moderated by Beat Kümin ('Food & Drink Cultures' thematic lead).

Wednesday 20th October - 16:00 - 17:30, MS Teams. Recording will be available on YouTube and our 'FEAST !' website


Within the pages of a manuscript recipe collection now held by the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana, lies a shopping list – of sorts. The list is of items deemed suitable for serving as a banqueting course – the 16th and early 17th century equivalent of post-dinner chocolates and digestifs – and even where some of the ingredients can be found. What makes this list so fascinating is the association of the manuscript with Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I and VI, who died in 1612 before he could become king. In this presentation, I explored what this shopping list can tell us about elite banqueting in the Jacobean era, what light it sheds on expanding supply networks for sugar and other luxury comestibles; and how such a source might be used to engage visitors at one of the surviving historic sites associated with Prince Henry, Charlton House in south east London.

Sara Pennell is associate professor of early modern history at the university of Greenwich, as well as co-director of the IEHCA Summer University in Food and Drink Studies. She has researched and written on manuscript recipe collections, potatoes and chocolate as well as early modern perceptions of diet. Publications include The Birth of the English Kitchen, 1600-1850 and she is currently preparing a book about one of England’s foremost early modern writers of recipes, Hannah Wolley.

Banner image: extract from Willem Claesz. Heda, ‘Still Life with a Gilt Cup’ (1635). Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Document: MS recipe collection, c. 1610, associated with Henry, Prince of Wales (d. 1612): Lilly Library, Indiana University, LMC2435. Image copyright The Trustees of the Lilly Library, Indiana University.

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