16th-century flash mob surprises Hardwick Hall visitors

Posted on 30 April 2013

To celebrate the launch of the Virtue and Vice exhibition at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, Dr Helen Smith (English and Related Literature) and the York-based quartet 'Les Canards Chantants' teamed up to surprise visitors as they explored the High Great Chamber.

The Virtue and Vice exhibition brings together the findings of the AHRC-funded Conversion Narratives project, which is due to conclude in August this year, with the exceptional Elizabethan collections at Hardwick Hall. It traces the impact of the Reformation and dissolution of the monasteries, casts a new light on the long history of English attitudes to Islam, and shows how men and women made use of well-known tales from the Bible to give voice to their own stories and concerns.

The famous Eglantine Table is decorated with wooden sheet music by the famous Renaissance composer, Thomas Tallis. According to the early publishers of the lovely 'Lamentation', songs like this were a good alternative to bawdy ballads 'which tende only to the nourishing of vyce'. Learn more about the event, and the exhibition, on the project blog.