Rough music in square 63: a comparative analysis of the imagery in the final square of English and Dutch editions of The Royal Pastime of Cupid

Duggan, Eddie (2018) Rough music in square 63: a comparative analysis of the imagery in the final square of English and Dutch editions of The Royal Pastime of Cupid. In: XXI Annual International Board Game Studies Colloquium., 23–26 April 2018, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece..

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The Royal Pastime of Cupid, or Entertaining Game of the Snake, is a variant of The Game of Goose. This paper extends and develops the author’s research into The Royal Pastime of Cupid. A survey of extant and known copies of The Royal Pastime of Cupid published in Britain was presented to the XX Board Game Studies Colloquium in Copenhagen (2017). The author adopts a typological approach to the iconography of square 63 in order to distinguish editions. Three types have been identified in British editions (see Duggan, 2018) while European editions are yet to be classified. The three types identified in British editions are: cupid with bow, cupid honing an arrow and cupid serenading a peasant dance with “rough music”.

The earliest known British copies of The Royal Pastime of Cupid were published by John Garrett (ca. 1690–1700) and William Dicey (1736–1740). Extant copies of the Garret edition are in the George Clarke Print Collection, Worcester College, Oxford (Folder 6: 001 Print ID 2643) and the Bute Broadsides (B73), Houghton Library, Harvard University. The Dicey edition is held in the Bodleian Library’s John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera (Games Folder 6).

The Garrett and Dicey editions use the same peasant dance motif in square 63 as the edition published in Amsterdam, ca. 1625 by Claes Janszoon Visscher (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, RP-P-OB-77.369). Visscher’s peasant dance motif offers a contrast to the motif of three couples in a formal garden as seen in the European editions of De Jode (Antwerp, 1620) and Petit (Paris, 1650).

This paper will compare and contrast the imagery used in the final square of the two earliest English editions, identified above, with the final square motif in Visscher edition. The iconography used in the peasant dance motif is interesting for the amusing and ironic counterpoint Cupid’s “rough music” presents to the theme of the game. However, the peasant dance motif deployed in the English editions appears to lack the internal coherence displayed in Visscher’s earlier design.

After an introduction to typology identified in The Royal Pastime of Cupid and to the concept of “rough music”, this paper will discuss the imagery used in the two English editions (Garrett, London, ca. 1690–1700; Dicey, London 1736–1740) before considering the apparent source of the imagery, Visscher’s print of ca. 1625, which presents the viewer with a more sophisticated and coherent interplay of iconographic elements.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: games, The Royal Pastime of Cupid
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Eddie Duggan
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2020 09:25
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2020 09:25

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