King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The David Clarke Collection

Louis Napoleon Parker

Louis Napoleon ParkerMaster of the Pageant: Louis Napoleon Parker, date unknown  Louis Napoleon ParkerLouis Napoleon Parker, date unknown  Dover Pageant Book of WordsDover Pageant Book of Words, 1908 Louis Napoleon Parker directed one of the earliest large-scale pageants in the UK, and it was through his ambition and drive that the Sherborne Pageant of 1905 was made possible.

Beginning as the music master at Sherborne School, Parker then went on to become one of the most celebrated pageant masters, producing further displays in Warwick (1906), Bury St Edmonds (1907), Dover (1908), Colchester (1909) and York (1909).

Anthony Parker (Louis Napoleon’s grandson) in his book Pageants: Their Presentation and Production (1954), says that when he produced a pageant in Warwick in 1953, people were still talking about the 1906 pageant directed by his grandfather.

This is testament to the spectacular display and sense of civic pride that Louis Napoleon Parker was able to instil in these small towns.

In the end, despite being the driving force behind pageants in the early stages, Parker only produced six of the large scale celebrations.

Although it might be the case that he did not direct as many pageants as others, he was undoubtedly the inspiration for most others that came after.

In essence Parker, and his particular pageant ‘style’ can be said to have lived on though other open-air, large-scale productions.

This exhibition featuring the David Clarke Collection, has been researched and compiled by Fraser Simpson, MA student History Department, King’s College London.
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