The Stirling Maxwell Festival Books Project

The Stirling Maxwell Collection in the Archives & Special Collections Department of the University of Glasgow Library includes an important collection of around 300 Early Modern European festival books, which formed part of the library of the scholar and collector Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878). The festival books were included in the vast collection of books broadly categorised by Stirling Maxwell as emblem books and most, indeed, include emblematic elements. Until now, they have never been catalogued as a discrete genre.  The ultimate aim of this new project is to prepare a catalogue raisonné of this collection. Through this webpage, we share preliminary results of our research.   

Fig. 1 Sir William Stirling Maxwell. Frontispiece portrait in The Works of Sir William Stirling Maxwell, Baronet (London: John Nimmo, 1891), I. Engraving by Robert Bowyer Parkes from a drawing by George Richmond.

Fig. 1 Sir William Stirling Maxwell. Frontispiece portrait in The Works of Sir William Stirling Maxwell, Baronet (London: John Nimmo, 1891), I. Engraving by Robert Bowyer Parkes from a drawing by George Richmond. 

 

Fig. 2 Keir Library, 1860. Tinted lithograph by M. & N. Hanhart, after a drawing by Robert Frier, in William Stirling, An Essay towards a Collection of Books Relating to Proverbs, Emblems, Apophthegms, Epitaphs and Ana: Being a Catalogue of Those at Keir (London: privately printed, 1860), frontispiece illustration. University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, BD17-e.5.

Fig. 2 Keir Library, 1860. Tinted lithograph by M. & N. Hanhart, after a drawing by Robert Frier, in William Stirling, An Essay towards a Collection of Books Relating to Proverbs, Emblems, Apophthegms, Epitaphs and Ana: Being a Catalogue of Those at Keir (London: privately printed, 1860), frontispiece illustration. University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, BD17-e.5. 

 


What are Festival Books?

Festival books offer a record of the special festivals frequently held to commemorate events such as royal births, marriages and funerals, political and military triumphs, or the canonisation of saints. They contain descriptions of the processions, ceremonies and entertainments comprised in them, as well as of the ephemeral art, architecture, emblems and epigraphs produced to adorn or house them. Many of them were clearly expensive to produce, with high-quality printing and fine illustrations. Though they often present an official image or version of events, they also offer unique insight into the important role of ephemeral spectacle, performance, art and architecture in the service of church and state, including the close collaboration between the arts in Europe in this period. They likewise provide a valuable record of many of the more traditional elements also found in popular festivals of the time. 

Fig. 3 Funerary Catafalque of King Philip IV. Designed by Sebastián Herrera Barneuvo. Engraving by Pedro de Villafranca, in Pedro Rodriguez de Monforte, Descripcion de las honras que se hicieron [a] D. Phelippe quarto Rey […] en el Real Conuento de la Encarnacion (Madrid: Francisco Nieto, 1666), folding plate between fols 71–72. University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, S.M. 1455.

Fig. 3 Funerary Catafalque of King Philip IV. Designed by Sebastián Herrera BarneuvoEngraving by Pedro de Villafranca, in Pedro Rodriguez de Monforte, Descripcion de las honras que se hicieron [a] D. Phelippe quarto Rey […] en el Real Conuento de la Encarnacion (Madrid: Francisco Nieto, 1666), folding plate between fols 71–72. University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, S.M. 1455. 


Project Partnership

The Stirling Maxwell Festival Books Project is an international collaboration between the University of Glasgow and the Universidad de Málaga. In Glasgow, the project is a partnership between the Stirling Maxwell Centre for the Study of Text/Image Cultures, the Stirling Maxwell Research Project and the Archives & Special Collections Department of the University of Glasgow Library. We are most grateful for the support of the project I+D ART-ES Apropiaciones e hibridaciones entre artes plásticas y artes escénicas en la Edad Moderna (HAR2019-70089P Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad de España/FEDER), led b.  

 

Project Team 

Dr Hilary Macartney, Director, Stirling Maxwell Research Project, School of Culture & Creative Arts, University of Glasgow (PI), Hilary.Macartney@glasgow.ac.uk  

Dr Carmen González-Román, Coordinadora del Másters Oficial, Historia del Arte, Universidad de Málaga (PI), romancg@uma.es  

Dr Luís Gomes, Deputy-Director, Stirling Maxwell Centre, School of Modern Languages & Cultures, University of Glasgow (CI), Luis.Gomes@glasgow.ac.uk  

Robert MacLean, Assistant Librarian, Archives & Special Collections, University of Glasgow (CI), Robert.MacLean@glasgow.ac.uk  

The Giralda Tower of Seville Cathedral Decked out with Banners and Flags – Detail of Putti

Fig. 6 The Giralda Tower of Seville Cathedral Decked out with Banners and Flags – Detail of Putti. Etching by Matías Arteaga. In Fernando de la Torre Farfán, Fiestas de la S. Iglesia metropolitana y patriarcal de Sevilla al nuevo culto del Señor Don D. Fernando el tercero de Castilla y Leon […] (Sevilla: Viuda de Nicolás Rodríguez, 16711672), folding plate facing p. 14. University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, S.M. 1701. 

 


Digital Platform

Some initial outcomes of our ongoing research collaboration are currently being prepared for sharing via a new digital platform. Storyboards on important examples of festival books in the Stirling Maxwell Collection will be available through the digitorial of the ART-ES project, https://artes.hypotheses.org/ 

Hilary MacartneyTorre Farfán’s Fiestas de Sevilla: A Journey with Stirling Maxwell 

The Giralda Tower of Seville Cathedral Decked out with Banners and Flags

Fig 4 The Giralda Tower of Seville Cathedral Decked out with Banners and Flags. Etching by Matías Arteaga. In Fernando de la Torre Farfán, Fiestas de la S. Iglesia metropolitana y patriarcal de Sevilla al nuevo culto del Señor Don D. Fernando el tercero de Castilla y Leon […]  

(Sevilla: Viuda de Nicolás Rodríguez, 16711672), folding plate facing p. 14. University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, S.M. 1701. 

 

CoFig. 4b Engraved Title-page. Etching by Matías Arteaga after a design by Francisco de Herrera the Younger

Fig 4b Engraved Title-page. Etching by Matías Arteaga after a design by Francisco de Herrera the Younger. In Fernando de la Torre Farfán, Fiestas de la S. Iglesia metropolitana y patriarcal de Sevilla al nuevo culto del Señor Don D. Fernando el tercero de Castilla y Leon […]  

(Sevilla: Viuda de Nicolás Rodríguez, 16711672). University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, S.M. 1701. 

 

Isabel Alba NievaThe Look of the Gods: Costume and Court Fashion for a Masquerade 

 

Fig 5 View of Lodi with the Arrival of the Procession of the Governor of Milan, Count Melgar and his Countess, for the Celebrations for the Marriage of King Charles II of Spain, 1680. Etching by Philippe Biffi. In Dissegno della mascherata fatta in Lodi il carnevale dell'anno corrente 1680. Per dimostratione di giubilo delle Regali nozze del Gran Monarca delle Spagne Carlo Secondo all'arriuo dell'Eccellentiss. Sig. Co. di Melgar gouernatore in Milano, e dell'Eccellentissima Signora Cont.sa Consorte il di 26. FebraroUniversity of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, Sp Coll S.M. 1304

 

 Fig 5a a Thetis and Neptune, Processional Float. Etching by Philippe Biffi. In Dissegno della mascherata fatta in Lodi il carnevale dell'anno corrente 1680. Per dimostratione di giubilo delle Regali nozze del Gran Monarca delle Spagne Carlo Secondo all'arriuo dell'Eccellentiss. Sig. Co. di Melgar gouernatore in Milano, e dell'Eccellentissima Signora Cont.sa Consorte il di 26. FebraroUniversity of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, Sp Coll S.M. 1304. 

 


Further Information

For information on how Stirling Maxwell’s own interests in festivals from the 16th century to his own day were reflected in his collecting and scholarship, see Hilary Macartney: ‘Lingering over Graphic Descriptions of Grand State Ceremonials and Festivities: Stirling Maxwell and the Role of the Artist in Golden-Age Spain’, Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies III,2 2019 

For exploration of concepts of ‘Theatricality’ and ‘Performativity’, and case studies of relationships between the visual arts in the festival culture of the Habsburgs and the Spanish context in Europe, see further articles in the Special Issue of the Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies III,2 2019, edited by Carmen González-Román and HilaryMacartney https://tandfonline.com/toc/rbhv20/3/2?nav=tocList. 

Useful Links 

Stirling Maxwell Research Project 

http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/cca/research/instituteofarthistory/projectsandnetworks/stirlingmaxwellresearchproject/   

 

Special Collections 

https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/specialcollections/  

 

Stirling Maxwell Collection 

https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/specialcollections/collectionsa-z/stirlingmaxwellcollection/  

 

Other Festival Books collections & projects 

Fig 7 Heralds Announce the Arrival of the Procession. Detail of etching by PhilippeBiffiIn Dissegno della mascherata fatta in Lodi il carnevale dell'anno corrente 1680. Per dimostratione di giubilo delle Regali nozze del Gran Monarca delle Spagne Carlo Secondo all'arriuo dell'Eccellentiss. Sig. Co. di Melgar gouernatore in Milano, e dell'Eccellentissima Signora Cont.sa Consorte il di 26. FebraroUniversity of Glasgow Library, Special Collections, Sp Coll S.M. 1304.