Household Things

22 October 2014, 12:00 - 14:00

Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Dr Julia Poole (Retired Keeper of Applied Art at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge)
Craig Cessford (Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Division of Archaeology, University of Cambridge)
 

The University website has done a feature on one of our Things speaker's
http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/a-tale-of-38-teapots-an-intimate-portrait-of-18th-century-sociability!

 

Abstracts

Dr Julia Poole
Things in Household Accounts: The Case of the 4th Duke of Bedford (1762-1763)

Household accounts usually cover purchases over a number of years, often sporadically.  The extensive household accounts surviving from John 4th Duke of Bedford's embassy to Paris between September 1762 and June 1763 differ in covering the complete equipping of a household, and its consumption during a specific limited period. They permit us to recreate the lost material world of his Embassy in Paris, the daily life of its inhabitants, including over 40 servants, and their interaction with over 170 Parisian tradesmen and women. And leave no doubt as to why the Duke, a remarkably prompt payer of bills, described his successful political mission as a 'ruinous embassy' from a financial viewpoint. Analysis of the quantities and prices of a selection of classes of expenditure, such as ceramics and glass, clothing, and wine throw light on the relative values of objects then and now, and can be compared with studies of French aristocratic households in pre-Revolutionary Paris, and with the Duke's accounts for Woburn Abbey and Bedford House.

 

Craig Cessford
Archaeology and Household Goods 1400-1900: Long-term Trends and Intimate Portraits

Whilst 'household archaeology' is a well-established area of study within archaeology, the approaches used are predominantly architectural rather than artefactual. There are various reasons for this, often related to the problems of linking archaeological objects to households in a meaningful manner. One potential approach is to focus upon a specific type of archaeological assemblage, often termed 'clearance deposits', that represent the deposition of significant quantities of material associated with a particular household as a single event. Such deposits need to be approached in a methodologically nuanced manner and cannot be simply 'read' in terms of household composition, socioeconomic status etc. They can however be interpreted as complex manifestations of the materialised temporality of households mediated through rule-bound depositional practice. One of the strengths of this approach is that is is capable of producing both intimate portraits of specific households and broader perspectives, on both how the nature of household goods changed over time and how they varied between different households at a specific point in time.

 

 

Open to all.  No registration required

Part of Things that Matter, 1400-1900 Research Group seminar series