Press Release: The Prince in Splendour
The Prince in Splendour
Court Festivals of Medieval Europe
With a Preface by the author
‘He has an original eye and an elegant pen’
Published exclusively by The Folio Society, this lively and entertaining book examines the splendours of the medieval court festival in all its forms – from jousts and knightings to feast days and weddings. Displays of such extravagance were not just desirable but a vital political tool, allowing the powerful to demonstrate their prosperity and influence. Drawing on a wealth of primary material, often eyewitness accounts of great events, Barber sheds a new light on this previously little-researched area.
Reasons for festivals were many and varied, but they always they functioned as part of religious, dynastic or political agendas: from coronations and knightings to celebrations of the birth of royal children, betrothals, weddings, visits from foreign princes, and rulers challenging each other to tournaments. Barber expertly examines, in unprecedented detail, the many different facets of the festival: the food and the fashions, the art and music, the organisation, financing and logistics of such grandiose events, and the people that made the splendours possible.
René, Duke of Anjou, for example, entered a joust with a procession that included two Turkish attendants ‘leading live lions on silver chains’, while food was often served in a similarly dramatic style: entire courses gilded with gold leaf, or guests presented with elaborate castles made of pastry. Minstrels and troubadours would compete for their lords’ attentions, while dancing was so enthusiastic that one gathering collapsed a ceiling. New technologies, such as automata and clockwork, made events more memorable: boats in pools of water cunningly moved by a concealed mechanism, even fire-breathing beasts.
This edition, only available from The Folio Society, is lavishly illustrated with a frontispiece and 24 pages of colour plates reflecting the extravagant nature of courtly festivals and the exquisite craftsmanship of the period.
Three quarter-bound in cloth with a Modigliani paper front board. Set in Poliphilus and Blado display. 280 pages. Frontispiece and 24 pages of colour plates. Blocked slipcase. 9˝ x 6¼˝.
UK £39.95 US $64.95 Can $82.95 Aus $82.95
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