The Banqueting House and The Masque of Augurs: Architecture and Metatheatricality in a Jacobean Masque, Jeremy Newton
The Banqueting House in Whitehall was designed by Inigo Jones and built between 1619 and 1622. Its functions included the staging of masques, and Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Augurs was the first to be presented there. Both works draw heavily on classical precedent and learning. This essay argues that appreciation of The Masque of Augurs depends on understanding the space that was used for its performance, and that Jonson purposely draws attention to the artificiality of the masque, and to the surroundings of the Banqueting House, in a way that we now term metatheatrical.