Category: Material History

Replacing Ireland’s Lost Records: Doing Public History with the Beyond 2022 Project

By Elizabeth Biggs One hundred years ago, in the spring and early summer of 1922, the Public Record Office of Ireland in the Four Courts complex in Dublin was occupied by anti-Treaty forces, with Rory O’Connor as one of their leaders. They were opposed… Continue Reading “Replacing Ireland’s Lost Records: Doing Public History with the Beyond 2022 Project”

A Royal Bedroom: Gender, Class and Material Culture

By Esther Griffin van Orsouw For my PhD research at the University of Warsaw, I investigate the consumption of art by the Sobieski family and their contemporaries in the late 17th and early 18th century in relation to space. I consider what type of… Continue Reading “A Royal Bedroom: Gender, Class and Material Culture”

Women collectors, Lady Associates and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

By Julie Holder When I tell people that I research the nineteenth-century history of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, a very specific idea of an ‘antiquary’ comes to mind: white, male, and middle or upper class. And to a great extent this view… Continue Reading “Women collectors, Lady Associates and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland”

Lacquer as Art and Medicinal Material in Early Modern England

CHENG HE Look up the word ‘lacquer’ in an art dictionary, or on Google, and you usually find the word ‘varnish’; a sticky liquid applied to the surface of objects to form a shiny coating. The word can also refer to the objects coated… Continue Reading “Lacquer as Art and Medicinal Material in Early Modern England”

Stitches of Resistance: Reclaiming the Narratives of the Enslaved Seamstresses in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown

DR CYNTHIA E. CHIN A single object was the subject of my doctoral dissertation: a heavily faded purple silk gown owned and worn by Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802), the wife of ‘His Excellency’, President George Washington. One of three surviving intact dresses belonging… Continue Reading “Stitches of Resistance: Reclaiming the Narratives of the Enslaved Seamstresses in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown”

Using Scrapbooks as Historical Sources

Cherish Watton. Think of any topic, and someone, somewhere, has probably made a scrapbook on it. People scrapbooked on things which were important to them; family, friendships, professional activity, popular culture, political, and associational activity. Scrapbooks didn’t just document family life. Politicians and diplomats… Continue Reading “Using Scrapbooks as Historical Sources”