Shrovetide dancing: balls and masques at Whitehall under Charles II
I propose to explore the tradition of the Shrovetide entertainment at Whitehall during the reign of Charles II. I shall give an account of the masques and balls held there during Shrovetide using evidence from the Lord Steward and Lord Chamberlain’s papers and other source material. I shall investigate the extent to which the masques at Whitehall were modelled on French entertainments staged for Louis XIV, and will point to specific French works on which Whitehall entertainments - among them Calisto and the Queen’s masque of 1670/1 - appear to have been modelled. I shall argue that Blow’s Venus and Adonis was probably performed at Shrovetide too, and will suggest a likely date for its first performance, based on the Lord Steward’s records of provisions ordered for participants in masques and balls at the Hall Theatre.