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Student Showcase Archive

Charlotte Austin

MA work

MA work

Dissertation: State, Spectacle and Design: Tournament Construction and the Princely Image in Jacobean England

Anyone who could afford the admission price of a shilling was able to attend a Jacobean tournament and encounter the widest cross-section of the realm ever likely to be seen. Far from being escapist reveries, transcending a world of political events to an innocent condition, these courtly entertainments were highly-designed to serve specific policies. Whilst James used their familiar imagery to reassure his new subjects, his sons maximised their potential as vehicles of memory. In 1619, Charles' participation in his first public tilt cost the Exchequer over £6,000. Indeed, far more money was spent on tournaments than was ever spent on masques, although one would hardly assume this from the current literature.

The connection between state and spectacle cannot be denied, but how were these connected by design? How did this triangle operate, who did it involve, and what can we say of its endurance? The projection of consciously constructed images of rule required an immense design effort, headed by the Great Wardrobe and relying upon an interacting design network of contractors and sub-contractors. I have profiled individual craftsmen and retailers, and illuminated their finest work by reconstructing the 1619 tilt from its Wardrobe account. Issues such as design choices and the fate of used apparel are discussed with reference to Lord Mayors' Shows, a simultaneous a successful form of mass-display, prompting judgements as to the ultimate success of Jacobean tournament design, a worthy and neglected design history subject.

Info

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2008

  • Dissertation: State, Spectacle and Design: Tournament Construction and the Princely Image in Jacobean England

    Anyone who could afford the admission price of a shilling was able to attend a Jacobean tournament and encounter the widest cross-section of the realm ever likely to be seen. Far from being escapist reveries, transcending a world of political events to an innocent condition, these courtly entertainments were highly-designed to serve specific policies. Whilst James used their familiar imagery to reassure his new subjects, his sons maximised their potential as vehicles of memory. In 1619, Charles' participation in his first public tilt cost the Exchequer over £6,000. Indeed, far more money was spent on tournaments than was ever spent on masques, although one would hardly assume this from the current literature.

    The connection between state and spectacle cannot be denied, but how were these connected by design? How did this triangle operate, who did it involve, and what can we say of its endurance? The projection of consciously constructed images of rule required an immense design effort, headed by the Great Wardrobe and relying upon an interacting design network of contractors and sub-contractors. I have profiled individual craftsmen and retailers, and illuminated their finest work by reconstructing the 1619 tilt from its Wardrobe account. Issues such as design choices and the fate of used apparel are discussed with reference to Lord Mayors' Shows, a simultaneous a successful form of mass-display, prompting judgements as to the ultimate success of Jacobean tournament design, a worthy and neglected design history subject.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) History, University of Leeds, 2006
  • Experience

  • Internship, Victoria and Albert Museum: Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass: Metalwork Section, London, 2006-8; iGuide (from StreetAccess) Museum Trail Designer, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning through Design, London, 2007