Exploring some of the fashion of Renaissance England at the V&A Museum in London.
By revisiting the recent past of Henry’s reign, the plays construct the events as a historical past, distinct and separate from the present. Early modern performance presents, reshapes, and diverges from the collective memory of a diverse socio-economic populace. Plays about recent history offer both a form of remembrance and construction of a memory for the historical moment brought to life on stage.
Playing dead, however, is not merely a staging issue, though performance of a single character in two simultaneous but separate locations is a legitimate concern, both metaphysical and staging, since playing dead also poses eschatological and ontological challenges to neoplatonism, stoicism, and Christian theology, frameworks within which many Jacobean and revenge plays are conceived.
Painter of genius, gifted courtier and much-travelled man of the world, Rubens reached England in 1629, charged with the delicate task of furthering an entente between the Spanish government and Great Britain. C.V. Wedgwood shows how he enjoyed the conversation of his youthful host, whose fine aesthetic taste he shared, but shrewdly judged the weakness of King Charles I’s diplomacy.