The author delves into the materials used for construction and embellishment throughout the period: artful applications of dyed sugar, sand, marble dust or chalk lent lustre and colour to tables and floors, whilst painted scenery and transparencies created from thousands of variegated lamps transformed existing venues into unfamiliar marvels. Spectacular stand-alone firework temples and temporary reception rooms were often crafted of little more than wood, canvas and paint.
Drawing on primary sources including personal letters, diary entries, bills and newspaper accounts, this book investigates how successful these fanciful designs were in creating fleeting moments of delight with lasting impact and popular appeal.
Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
'[This] impressive doctoral thesis turned fascinating narrative shows us how many different forms the human desire to celebrate took in the eighteenth century – and how irresistible conspicuous consumption has always been. Melanie Doderer-Winkler’s exhaustively detailed tome documents the myriad skills of hundreds of designers, artists, craftsmen and labourers at the service of the rich and the high born for parties, ceremonies, parades, pageants and processions – the secular rituals that bind these excessive communities.'—Marina Vaizey, V&A Magazine~Marina Vaizey, V&A Magazine
~Tim Knox, Country Life
'Magnificent Entertainments is the first book dedicated to this interesting subject and it is meticulously researched and illustrated with hundreds of rare, contemporary views depicting long-vanished triumphs.'—Tim Knox, Country Life
"Clear the decks for Melanie Doderer-Winkler's sumptuous Magnificent Entertainments, an immaculately researched, written and illustrated blockbuster in the temporary pavilions, ballrooms, feasts and fantasties that Georgian foppery so delighted in."—Nicky Haslam, The Spectator~Nicky Haslam, The Spectator
‘Doderer-Winkler’s great achievement as an archaeologist of the ephemeral is to bring such events to vivid life from the claims of prints and press releases, eyewitness accounts – and, critically, the bill.’—Christopher Woodward, World of Interiors Magazine ~Christopher Woodward, World of Interiors