Making time material: domestic dated objects in seventeenth-century England

Cope, Sophie (2019). Making time material: domestic dated objects in seventeenth-century England. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines ideas of time and temporality in seventeenth-century England and their expression in the material culture of the home. It identifies and analyses a body of domestic objects inscribed with dates and establishes how they were used to record and reflect upon the passage of time. These objects survive in large numbers from the latter part of the sixteenth century through the seventeenth century but have thus far received insufficient attention in humanities scholarship. This thesis therefore provides the first sustained analysis of material dating practices and establishes a critical framework for interpreting these objects. It identifies and considers three categories of dated object in particular, which were highly symbolic of the very notion of ‘household’: wooden furniture, hearth equipment and decoration, and tablewares. It contextualises these objects within an understanding of the multitemporality of the domestic sphere, arguing for the need to move past seeing dated objects as merely commemorative of a single, specific event. Their dates might attest to a single moment in time, but through their use and subsequent circulation these objects reflect multiple temporalities at once; with everyday cycles of time sitting within broader ideas of posterity and the eternal. The interdisciplinary nature of this thesis provides a vital contribution to the field of material culture studies, and a timely intervention in the historiography on early modern English material culture.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain


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