Online Exhibition: Dr. Giovanna Guidicini

Exhibition abstract:
European themes and local awareness: the reconstruction of Charles I’s entry into Edinburgh in 1633

This exhibition presents the entry of King Charles I into Edinburgh in 1633 in the broader context of European triumphal entries during the Renaissance. I will show how the themes represented through the triumphal decorations and the temporary architecture built for Charles I’s entry represented a local and truly Scottish interpretation of the worries and aspirations faced by rulers all over Europe.

Through constantly, albeit subtly, doubting Charles I’s ability to stand in for his celebrated father James VI/I, this entry embodies the expectations set upon rulers succeeding famous and renowned fathers. It also represents both the hopes and the doubts of a country welcoming a ruler whose long absence has made him almost a stranger. In particular, I will describe how the triumphal apparatus expressed the desire to legitimise Charles as an absolutist ruler, and the answer of the king’s Scottish subjects to such pretensions. The triumphal celebrations stressed the necessity to create a modern national identity, but also the city’s expectations to see its local identity recognized and duly stressed. The role of Charles I in promoting Scotland and Britain’s exploration and colonization of the new world was both celebrated and questioned in the entry.

The entry will be illustrated through my own drawings of the seven arches built for the occasions, derived from the detailed descriptions contained in the triumphal booklet, and by comparison with contemporary entrances. The arches will be drawn in context, and set in a reconstruction of Edinburgh as it appeared in the 1630s, based on XVI century drawings. The role of Scotland within a greater Britain will be discussed through the analysis of the relationship between the triumphal architecture and the urban surroundings. This also expressed the renegotiation of the reciprocal roles of the ruler and of traditionally self-governed Edinburgh.

The copyright of all images and text belongs to Giovanna Guidicini. Do not use any of them without prior consent. Below images enclosed and a pdf with information about the exhibition entitled:

Reconstructing Charles I’s triumphal entry into Edinburgh on the 15th of June 1633 PDF