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Chamberlain and Churchill’s characters and attitudes to war are compared as a partial explanation of their different reactions to events in the 1930s. The two men are placed in the context of how foreign and defence policy was formed, and the principal people with whom they interacted in Whitehall are introduced. Particular attention is paid to the limitations of the intelligence services and to Churchill’s contacts and sources of information, including membership of an official committee on air defence.
Chapter 8’s aim is to interrogate the relationship between the court spaces depicted onstage in Shakespeare’s plays and the mimetic undertones that those represented spaces call forth for audiences. Clifford’s chapter explores Shakespeare and Fletcher’s All is True. Whitehall’s 'old name' lingers in the play as a reminder of its previous owner’s disgrace and its current owner’s power. Like Jacobean Whitehall itself, the palace’s narrative history is embedded in its architectural presence. Taking York Place/Whitehall as its centerpiece, this chapter considers court spaces in All is True in relation to the play’s narrative structure, arguing that the play’s engagement with Tudor history is partially defined by the royal places it represents or describes onstage. This chapter unpacks the spatial points of reference available to an imagined court audience for the play. Clifford argues that the palatial commonplaces upon which it relies might have been more meaningful to a court audience than that of the public theatre, thus positioning it as a play imagined for a royal performance.
Chapter 6 challenges the orthodoxy that plays were essentially premiered on the public stages prior to their performance at court. Jason Lawrence focuses on the royal performances of Othello and Measure for Measure at Whitehall in late 1604, in an attempt to modify some critical statements about these plays. It is Lawrence’s contention that the court performances of both of these plays were effectively prepared as royal premieres for the king. The two new plays share a common source in Cinthio’s prose Hecatommitti, and Lawrence demonstrates how the significant alterations and additions made in each case engage directly with the interests of the new monarch, suggesting that Shakespeare was, at least partially, dramatising stories from his new-found Italian source with these royal performances in mind. Lawrence shows that, in each case, any prior performance might have been intended primarily as a rehearsal for the court appearance. The length of Othello in particular fits with Richard Dutton’s argument about the preparation of longer play texts specifically for Jacobean court performance, although, significantly, in this case it would be for a brand new rather than revised play.
Rebecca Olson describes the use of painted cloths in the 1611/12 court season, which included The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. Highly portable and useful for creating smaller spaces within chambers, textiles were regular fixtures at both Whitehall and contemporary playhouses. But the actual textiles used at court, including painted cloths, would have been different from those hanging in playhouses: whereas costumes were provided by acting companies, and were therefore likely to have been those used in London, the hangings used at court were procured by the Revels Office. Olson provides an overview of what is known about the period’s once-ubiquitous painted cloths to describe how they would have set the scene for high-stakes performances of some of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Once dismissed as 'poor man’s tapestry', it appears that painted cloths were in fact preferred in certain dramatic situations, even when more luxurious materials were available. They consequently provide us with a lens through which to reconsider not only what the courtly theatre looked like, but also the degree to which its aesthetic relied on a deliberate blurring of quotidian and elite forms.