What's On


Royal Spectacle

26 Mar-26 Oct 2014

This is a past exhibition

This exhibition marked the publication of the Books and Bindings catalogue, highlighting illustrated books published on the occasion of court festivities, celebrations and spectacles.

Lavishly illustrated books, with engravings of the largest format, document the many extravagant festivities and ceremonies staged for the French court during the 17th and 18th centuries to mark the life cycle of births, marriages and deaths. Fanciful theatrical stage settings are the backdrop for richly costumed processions, equestrian tournaments, theatre performances, church ceremonies and spectacular firework displays. The books themselves are often bound in exquisite bindings intended for the royal family and aristocracy. While focusing on France, the exhibition also includes some comparative material from other European courts.