This book offers an English translation of the Italian manuscript that commemorated the marriage of Costanzo Sforza Lord of Pesaro and Camilla d’Aragona of Naples, which took place in Pesaro in 1475. Furthermore, this richly illustrated text provides the reader with the necessary historical background and biographical details.
This publication is the first English translation from the Italian of the fascinating contemporary account of the spectacular four-day celebrations that took place in Pesaro in May 1475 to mark the marriage of Costanzo Sforza Lord of Pesaro and Camilla d’Aragona of Naples. The event was commemorated both in manuscript and early print in an anonymous narration that describes in great detail the arrival of the bride and her welcome procession into Pesaro; the actual marriage ceremony and the celebratory banquet that followed; the pageants, presentation of gifts and fireworks that filled the third day; and the final day’s excitement of jousts and yet more theatrical entertainment.
The translation has been made from the early printed text (the incunable in the British Library, I.A.31753 Sforza, Costantio Signore di Pesaro, 1475) and also directly from the unique illustrated presentation manuscript in the Vatican Library (MS Vat. Urb. Lat. 899) which, though previously thought to have been produced in 1480, may in fact have been made at the same time as the incunable edition. It is not known for whom the printed books were intended (7 copies only survive), but it is likely that the prominent dignitaries among the 108 guests – who included Federico da Montefeltro, the groom’s brother-in-law – would have been the recipients of the account when it was printed in November 1475.
This present edition of the text includes all the images that illustrate the original manuscript – 32 full-page miniatures that depict the floats that welcomed the bride at the city gates of Pesaro; the costumed figures at the wedding banquet who represented the presiding Sun and Moon or the male and female messengers of the classical gods and goddesses who announced the exotic dishes of the 12-course banquet; and further colourful, unusually interesting illustrations of the ballets, fireworks and triumphs of the final two days of the celebrations.
In addition to the Introduction that provides the reader with the historical background and biographical details of the protagonists and personalities of this special occasion, Dr Bridgeman also adds helpful and highly informative annotations to the narration itself. In addition she provides full descriptions and explanations of the illustrations – all reproduced here in colour – and devotes a separate appendix to listing and explaining all the dishes served at the wedding banquet, together with their ingredients and recipes.
Dr Jane Bridgeman is an Associate Lecturer in Fashion History and Theory at Central St Martin’s College of Art, London. After graduating in Italian at Birmingham University, she studied History of Dress under Stella Mary Newton at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London where she also gained her Ph.D. on Aspects of Dress and Ceremony in Quattrocento Florence. She has taught at a number of universities and art colleges in the UK and has published numerous articles in English and Italian on the iconography of dress and the history of textiles.