British Library Renaissance Festival Books
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How to use the Advanced search

The Advanced search page has a number of search boxes, each offering a search on specific information about the festival, the book and specific pages in that book. Some of these boxes allow you to type in free text, others allow you to select from the list of terms used.

You can use as many or as few of the boxes as you want, and can combine boxes from all 3 sections. If you do use more than one box then the result will be those items which match all the criteria you have entered, so if you enter 'Milan' in the Place box and select 'Habsburg' in the Dynasty box, the result will be the festivals held in Milan which involved members of the Habsburg dynasty.

The free text boxes will accept truncated terms using *, eg 'Ann*' in the Participants box will find Ann, Anne, Annibale etc.. Also in the free text boxes you can use 'and' and 'or' to refine your search further - eg  ''Milan or Rome' in the Place box will select festivals in Milan as well as those in Rome. You cannot use either truncation or 'and / or' in the boxes which select from a list.

If you choose an entry from a selection list but then want to clear it, you should select the blank entry at the top of the list.

The different sections and search boxes on the page are described below:

Festival details

This section allows you to search for information about the festival itself. The individual search boxes are described below.


Will search general information about the festival, eg description, general notes.

Type of event

What type of festival this was, eg an entry, coronation, wedding etc. Select from the drop-down list of terms used.


This covers both the town / city where the festival took place, and also regions or countries for a more general search.

Participant and dynasty

These cover the people in whose honour the festival was given (usually princes or nobles) and the local dignitaries who took part. Enter a name or description under participant, and/or select from the list of their dynasties.

Performer / artisan and role

These include the people who organised, constructed or took part in the festival, and the role they played.

Date range

Searches on the year in which the festival was held. Enter only the year number here, not month or day. If one box is left blank, then the search will be open-ended, eg 'between [blank] and 1580' will find all festivals before or during 1580, and similarly 'between 1580 and [blank]' wil find all festivals during or after 1580. To search for a single specific year, enter that year in both boxes, eg 'between 1580 and 1580' for only those festivals held in 1580.

Book details

This section allows you to search details of the book itself, as opposed to the festival it describes.


Will search general information about the book, including title, notes, etc.


The book title and, where applicable, any alternative title.

Person and Function

This covers the people involved in producing the book - authors, editors, publishers etc.


The language(s) that the book was written in.

British Library Shelfmark

The shelfmark of the British Library's copy of the book. You do not need to enter the full shelfmark, but all punctuation in the part you do enter should be given.

Page details

This covers descriptions of items on or described on specific pages of the book - illustrations, text sections etc. There are two sections here: Category includes the index terms used for general description of the item, while Description covers free-text searches on further details of the specific item.

The four types of detail covered are:

Performance element

This looks for descriptions of particular events in the festival, eg feast, pageant, coronation etc.


Looks for illustations in the book, eg map, portrait, coat of arms etc.

Text part

Looks for particular types of text within the book, eg poem, chapter, prayer, scene of a play etc.

Architectural element

Looks for a description of a piece of architecture or similar construction, eg statue, monument, stage design, tapestry etc.

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