An elaborate stage setting by Inigo Jones.

By the reign of James I (1603), the masque combined poetry, music, dance, elaborate costumes and spectacular stage machinery with allegorical and mythological themes and characters.

Masques reached the height of sophistication in the court of James I with extravagant productions written by, among others, Ben Jonson, and designed by Inigo Jones.

The next screens give information about Jones, and show some of his stage designs, including one demonstration of a scene change.

Music from a masque*

The dance here is a dance for fairies (A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merry Wives of Windsor both have fairies in them). It is a "Faerie Round" by Anthony Holbourne (died 1602), played here by a consort of recorders, ranging from soprano to bass; and there is also a viol da gamba (a viol large enough to be held between the legs). More on music

Click here to download the audio file.

Close

Footnotes

  1. A dance for fairies

    The dance here is a dance for fairies (A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merry Wives of Windsor both have fairies in them). It is a "Faerie Round" by Anthony Holbourne (died 1602), played here by a consort of recorders, ranging from soprano to bass; and there is also a viol da gamba (a viol large enough to be held between the legs). More on music

    Click here to download the audio file.