Salmacida Spolia

Definition

Theater

  • The last English court masque. Written by WilliamDavenant and designed by Inigo Jones, it was firststaged in 1640 at Whitehall, with King Charles I and Queen HenriettaMaria among the performers. Jones had introduced four sets of flatwings and several back shutters sliding on grooves for rapid changes,creating possibly the first completely changeable setting on an Englishstage.

    Salmacida Spolia was an allegorical glorification ofCharles's reign. In the anti-masque Discord and other evil spiritsarrive to disturb England, "envying the blessing and tranquillitywe have long enjoyed". This is soon halted by the arrival ofWisdom (Charles), titled Philogenes or 'lover of his people'. TheQueen is then sent down from heaven as a reward to Wisdom for turningthe storm into calm. The final scene included a glory, inwhich eight actors richly attired in clouds appeared high above thestage: as music filled the theater, the heaven opened to reveal itsdeities.

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