Exhibition | The Splendours of Royal Coronations, 1610–1825

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 3, 2014


Palais du Tau, Reims (Photo by Ludovic Péron, 9 September 2007, Wikimedia Commons). From Wikipedia: “The building was largely rebuilt in Gothic style between 1498 and 1509, and modified to its present Baroque appearance between 1671 and 1710 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte. It was damaged by a fire on 19 September 1914, and not repaired until after the Second World War. The Palace was the residence of the Kings of France before their coronation in Notre-Dame de Reims. The King was dressed for the coronation at the palace before proceeding to the cathedral; afterwards, a banquet was held at the palace. The first recorded coronation banquet was held at the palace in 990, and the most recent in 1825.”

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From the Palais du Tau à Reims (the 22-page press release is available as a PDF file here) . . .

Splendours of Royal Coronations from Louis XIII to Charles X
Sacres Royaux, de Louis XIII à Charles X

Palais du Tau, Reims, 28 May — 2 November 2014

Curated by Frédéric Lacaille and Benoît-Henry Papounaud

Le Centre des monuments nationaux présente, en partenariat avec le château de Versailles, l’exposition Sacres Royaux, de Louis XIII à Charles X au Palais du Tau à Reims du 28 mai au 2 novembre 2014.

5d409e755e247f85ff82da6137755804C’est au Palais du Tau, qui a accueilli à 33 reprises le roi la nuit précédant son sacre, que le Centre des monuments nationaux (CMN) a choisi de présenter cette exposition d’envergure, en partenariat avec le château de Versailles. Les visiteurs pourront y découvrir les cérémonies de sacres de 1610 à 1825, fondement essentiel de la monarchie absolue, qui consacraient le pouvoir, la puissance et la légitimité du roi. Ce partenariat d’exception avec le Château de Versailles donnera à voir de nombreuses œuvres encore jamais présentées au grand public.

Découvrez, au palais du Tau, séjour des rois pour leur couronnement, plus de 70 œuvres, témoins des fastes du règne des Bourbons, à l’occasion de cette exceptionnelle exposition en partenariat avec le château de Versailles. Au travers de tableaux, dessins, gravures, tapisseries, pièces d’orfèvrerie, éléments textiles et mobilier, l’exposition évoque les différentes étapes de la cérémonie du sacre des rois de France. Le calice des sacres, dit de Saint Remi (XIIème siècle), ou le manteau du sacre de Charles X, conservés au palais du Tau, sont mis en lumière aux côtés des collections du château de Versailles et de pièces prêtées par d’autres institutions, tel le Mobilier National, la Bibliothèque nationale de France ou le musée de l’hôtel Le Vergeur de Reims.

Le commissariat est assuré par Frédéric Lacaille, conservateur en chef au musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, et par Benoît-Henry Papounaud, administrateur du Palais du Tau.

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Information about the catalogue is available as a PDF file here:

Frédéric Lacaille, Alexandre Maral,  and Benoît-Henry Papounaud, Sacres Royaux, de Louis XIII à Charles X (Paris: Éditions du Patrimoine, 2014), 64 pages, ISBN: 978-2757703878, 12€.

Call for Papers | Making Room for Order: Court Ordinances

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 3, 2014

I’ve no idea how flexible the end date of 1700 is for the larger Palatium project, but I imagine this workshop will be of interest to many readers. -CH

From the Call for Papers:

Making Room for Order: Court Ordinances as a Source
for Understanding Space at Early Modern Princely Residences

Kalmar Castle, Sweden, 2–3 October 2014

Proposals due by 22 June 2014

Organized by ESF Research Networking Programme PALATIUM with Linnaeus University, Kalmar

One of the obvious sources when analysing how space was used at early modern royal residences are court ordinances. These are however far from as clear‐cut as they may seem. In several instances we can see how a world of order emerges that can easily be an illusion. Court ordinances are thus a rich material to use, but a source that poses a number of important methodological questions. The value of court ordinances has long been apparent. Already in 1761 Friedrich Carl Moser used court ordinances while compiling his work Teutsches Hof‐Recht. A more scholarly approach came later however. In 1905 and 1907 Arthur Kern published Deutsche Hofordnungen des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts. This was an important step in making court ordinances accessible for research. After Kern various court ordinances have been published for principalities such as Kleve, Aragon, Brandenburg and Burgundy.

For court studies, the analysis of court ordinances has been indispensable. In his groundbreaking research on early modern courts, David Starkey made extensive use of the Eltham Ordinances. The possible Burgundian influences on the late Plantagenet English court, through court ordinances, is an on‐going debate. In later years two important scholarly works on early modern court ordinances have been published. The first, edited by Werner Paravicini, was Höfe und Hofordnungen 1200–1600 in 1999. This was the result of a conference in 1996 by the Residenzen‐Kommission. The second large volume, Zu Diensten Ihrer Majestät: Hofordnungen und Instruktionsbücher am frühneuzeitlichen Wiener Hof, was published in 2011 by Jakob Wührer and Martin Scheutz.

Thus, some scholars have highlighted court ordinances recently. They have however not focussed specifically on royal residences and the interplay between architecture and court life. This leaves a fruitful and rich vein for PALATIUM to tap into. The workshop in Kalmar is aimed at analysing from a methodological standpoint how we can understand the uses and ideas of space at court by deploying court ordinances as a source. It will be necessary to include not just court ordinances proper but also instructions and similar sources. The differences between court ordinances, instructions and other court laws/regulations were fluid at the time and this should be reflected in the discussions.

Naturally court ordinances have methodological issues. Why was a court ordinance drawn up? Was the aim to enforce economy at court or to enhance magnificence? The information we can draw from court ordinances depends to a large degree on such reasons. A number of evident questions to discuss leap to mind. Can we see how the shift from peripatetic to more sedentary courts is reflected in court ordinances? Will court ordinance reflect specific palaces rather than a generic group of royal residences for a prince?

Another obvious issue is how court ordinances both reflect reality and norms. Can we see if court ordinances were translated verbatim without any consideration for spatial differences between courts? Would court ordinances be switched from one architectural setting to another? Did this result in changes in architectural layout? What happened if a new court ordinance clashed with the existing palace plan? Yet another issue concerns whether we can see how different court ordinances influence each other? The example of Burgundy and the court of Edward IV have already been mentioned. Were certain court ordinances especially influential?

The interplay between the spatial reality and court ordinances must always be kept in mind. Perhaps we can deduce what a lost court ordinance looked like by using the architectural material, which can indicate both functions and shifts in those functions.

Papers will be organised around the following three topics:

I. Space and Function: Norm versus Reality
Court ordinances are interesting on two levels. First, they tell us something about prevailing ideas and attitudes within courtly society at the time. Second, they might tell us something about how reality was organised. The second half is, however, far from straightforward. As a normative source, court ordinances pose special problems. How certain can we be that ordinances paint a true picture of how space was used at court? We need case studies that analyse how far the norm was realised. What can ordinances really tell us about the use of certain spaces at certain ceremonies?

II. Invention or Tradition?
Did court ordinances actually introduce real change in how space was organised at princely courts? Can we see if court ordinances precede or follow real changes in palatial space? Perhaps a court ordinance merely reflected already existing usage rather than introducing new ways? Might court ordinances act as a conservative force?

III. A Source Leaving the Residence Partly in Shadow?
An evident methodological issue when using court ordinance is whether there are spaces at royal palaces that fall outside court ordinances? Will certain areas not be covered? Will the hunt, gardens or the menagerie be outside the usual scope? Does that mean that these areas were less constricted by ceremony and regulation? (more…)

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