Devising the Revels

  • W. R. Streitberger University of Washington


The term "device" in the sixteenth century might still refer to a written document that explained in detail the creative idea and overall conception of a project. Only one such device survives for a court revel, "Devices to be shewed before the quenes Matie by waye of maskinge at Notthingham castell" [1562]. This device together with evidence from the Revels accounts illustrates how the suppression of individual egos by devisers, artists, and writers in the collaborative production of revels could be considered an exercise in the art of service to a prince.