Book of Fortunes for ‘Love’s Victory’ by Els van den Steen


A ‘Book of Fortunes’ is a sort of romantic horoscope. It is based on a Renaissance game played by courtly ladies and gentlemen originating in Italy and France. Each lady or gentleman in turn would let the book of fortunes fall open at a random page and stick a pin into the page, which would determine his or her fortune. The fortunes, written in verse, were then read out loud to the group.






The ‘Book of Fortunes’ is the most important prop in the play and was designed and handmade by Els Van Den Steen. The pages in the book have been written by Els and students of Els’ calligraphy classes in Sevenoaks & Maidstone Adult Education centres during the Spring term.

Content of the ‘Book of Fortunes’ for the performance of Love’s Victory at Penshurst Place on the 16th September 2018.

  1. Five fortunes to be taken from the book and read out loud
  2. Other love poems by members of the Sidney family (Mary Wroth’s father, aunt and uncle as well as Mary Wroth’s father, aunt and uncle as well as Lady Mary Wroth wrote love poetry outside the script)
  3. Five riddles
  4. One song

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With special thanks to:

Shelley Beale
Linda Brown
Sheila Burring
Jan Chattenton
Jenny Dalton
Rosemary Draper
Joscelyne Hynard
Sue King
Kim Novani
Ann Richardson
Sue Rowe
Bernice Slater
Yvonne Stewart
Kerry Wood