University of Sussex
Tierney,_Elaine.pdf (81.62 MB)

Strategies for celebration: realising the ideal celebratory city in London and Paris, 1660-1715

Download (81.62 MB)
posted on 2023-06-08, 11:49 authored by Elaine Alice Tierney
Urban festival actively sought to transform the early modern city, creating an idealised space that was deemed to be a more suitable site for celebration. This dissertation shows how urban festival marked both the conjuncture and disjuncture between a rhetorical ideal and the challenges inherent in its practical realisation in London and Paris between 1660 and 1715. Celebrations were located in the real early modern city- a space that posed all manner of design problems for those responsible for designing, devising and choreographing festival. While the ideal celebratory city did exist in the rhetoric that informed preparations for events and their representation, festival also constituted a series of performances in real space and time that were subject to uncontrollable factors, such as poor weather, injury, uncooperative workforces and imperfect audience response. Only those charged with commemorating festival had full control over the event, producing the books, chronicles and illustrative material that are most often consulted as sources by festival historians. By means of a tripartite structure, this dissertation will interrogate how the deployment of the spectacular aspired to create the ideal celebratory city at three key moments in the narrative of every celebration. The first section focuses on the practical and legislative preparations made before events. The second section considers the evidence of what actually happened during the performance or realisation of the events. The third, and final, part of the dissertation looks at the representation of celebrations in printed textual descriptions and visual images. Starting from the evidence of objects, including viewing platforms, fireworks, temporary architecture and bonfires, it will suggest the extent to which the ideal was achieved and the ways in which it influenced the practice of those involved in its production. Moreover, as a single event could be informed by more than one version of the ideal celebratory city, evidence of preparation, performance and representation will also demonstrate how far celebrations were the product of contested ideals.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • Art History Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • dphil


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager