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The court in the countryside: Privacy and political sociability in the suburban villas of Copenhagen’s late eighteenth-century court elite

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  • Kristine Dyrmann

In the early modern period, country house areas developed on the outskirts of resident towns throughout Europe. During summertime when the royal court withdrew from the capital to its summer palace, higher-ranking members of court would also retire to the suburbs. For members of the diplomatic corps or high nobility, keeping up with the politics and sociability of court life was crucial, even in the warmer months. The countryside was a recreational space, and the political function of the suburban villa was therefore different from that of the town. The suburban villa was characterised by a relative simplicity and intimacy in appearance, yet it was a highly political arena. Court members and royals were free from their urban duties, having retired to the privacy of the countryside, but this article argues that the political sociability of court life continued, adapting to a different setting. Indeed, the suburban villa was a space where relationships could be deepened, or vital political matters discussed on more private terms. Court members went on carriage rides, held pique-niques or even balls during these stays in the suburbs, often employing for political purposes the connection between privacy and sociability that was intrinsic to countryside existence. The article discusses the experiences and agency of men and women, and the dynamics of court and countryside on the outskirts of the Danish capital of Copenhagen in the late eighteenth century.

TidsskriftThe Court Historian
Sider (fra-til)32-48
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Special issue on 'Privacy at Court'

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