The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe

ISBN 9781315613161
Published September 13, 2016 by Routledge
506 Pages 27 Color & 96 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe marks the arrival of early modern material culture studies as a vibrant, fully-established field of multi-disciplinary research.

The volume provides a rounded, accessible collection of work on the nature and significance of materiality in early modern Europe – a term that embraces a vast range of objects as well as addressing a wide variety of human interactions with their physical environments. This stimulating view of materiality is distinctive in asking questions about the whole material world as a context for lived experience, and the book considers material interactions at all social levels.

There are 27 chapters by leading experts as well as 13 feature object studies to highlight specific items that have survived from this period (defined broadly as c.1500–c.1800). These contributions explore the things people acquired, owned, treasured, displayed and discarded, the spaces in which people used and thought about things, the social relationships which cluster around goods – between producers, vendors and consumers of various kinds – and the way knowledge travels around those circuits of connection. The content also engages with wider issues such as the relationship between public and private life, the changing connections between the sacred and the profane, or the effects of gender and social status upon lived experience.

Constructed as an accessible, wide-ranging guide to research practice, the book describes and represents the methods which have been developed within various disciplines for analysing pre-modern material culture. It comprises four sections which open up the approaches of various disciplines to non-specialists: ‘Definitions, disciplines, new directions’, ‘Contexts and categories’, ‘Object studies’ and ‘Material culture in action’.

This volume addresses the need for sustained, coherent comment on the state, breadth and potential of this lively new field, including the work of historians, art historians, museum curators, archaeologists, social scientists and literary scholars. It consolidates and communicates recent developments and considers how we might take forward a multi-disciplinary research agenda for the study of material culture in periods before the mass production of goods.

Table of Contents


List of Figures



Catherine Richardson, Tara Hamling and David Gaimster

Chapter 1: Global Things: Europe’s Early Modern Material Transformation

Giorgio Riello

Chapter 2: Cognitive History and Material Culture

John Sutton and Nicholas Keene


Chapter 3: Maps and Material Culture

Bernhard Klein

Chapter 4: The Royal Court

Glenn Richardson

Chapter 5: The Material Culture of Early Modern Churches

Andrew Spicer

Chapter 6: Public Buildings in Early Modern Europe

Kate Giles

Chapter 7: Domestic Buildings: Understanding Houses and Society

Chris King

Chapter 8: Materiality and the Streetlife of the Early Modern City

Andrew Gordon

Chapter 9: Materiality, Nature and the Body

Erin Sullivan and Andrew Wear

Chapter 10: Mortuary Culture

Harold Mytum

Chapter 11: Clothing

Maria Hayward

Chapter 12: Getting Down from the Table: Early Modern Foodways and Material Culture

Sara Pennell

Chapter 13: Arms and Armour

David Grummitt

Chapter 14: Material Texts

Frances Maguire and Helen Smith


Object Study 1: The Panyer Alley Boy

Andrew Gordon

Object Study 2: Abraham Ortelius, his epitome of the theatre of the worlde

Delia Garratt

Object Study 3: ‘The Persian Sibyl’ Banqueting Trencher

Victoria Jackson

Object Study 4: A ‘Witch-bottle’

Ann-Sophie Thwaite

Object Study 5: A Drug Jar

Hannah Lee

Object Study 6: A Shoehorn

Sophie Cope

Object Study 7: A Maiolica plate

Hollie Chung

Object study 8: ‘Concealed’ leather shoes

Peter Hewitt

Object Study 9: Manuscript Directions for Weaving Braids

Jan Sibthorpe

Object Study 10: The Balsambüchse – a Portable Seventeenth-Century Medicine Cabinet

Luisa Coscarelli

Object Study 11: The Maidstone Helmet

Malcolm Mercer

Object Study 12: A Dutch carved cupboard

Tara Hamling

Object Study 13: An Embroidered Mirror

Claire Canavan


Chapter 15: The Material Culture of Lineage in late-Tudor and early-Stuart England

Richard Cust

Chapter 16: The Malleable Moment in English Portraiture, c. 1540-1640

Robert Tittler

Chapter 17: Is This a Man I See Before Me?: Early Modern Masculinities and the New Materialisms

Amanda Bailey

Chapter 18: In Praise of Clean Linen: Laundering Humours on the Early Modern English Stage

Natasha Korda and Eleanor Lowe

Chapter 19: Early Modern Religious Objects or Objects of Belief?

Suzanna Ivanic

Chapter 20: The Material Culture of Piety in the Italian Renaissance: Re-touching the Rosary

Irene Galandra Cooper and Mary Laven

Chapter 21: Early Modern Spaces and Olfactory Traces

David Karmon and Christy Anderson

Chapter 22: Musical Sound and Material Culture
Flora Dennis

Chapter 23: Lasting Impressions of the Common Woodcut

Patricia Fumerton and Megan Palmer-Browne, with William Palmer

Chapter 24: Baroque Sculpture: Materiality and the Question of Movement

Nigel Llewellyn

Chapter 25: Rights of Privacy in Early Modern English Households

Lena Cowen Orlin

Chapter 26: Antwerp and the ‘Material Renaissance’: Exploring the social and economic significance of crystal glass and majolica in the sixteenth century

Inneke Baatsen, Bruno Blondé and Carolien De Staelen

Chapter 27: I Say ‘Shard’, You Say ‘Sherd’: contrasting and complimentary approaches to a piece of early modern ‘venice glass’

Angela McShane and Nigel Jeffries

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Dr Catherine Richardson is a Reader in Renaissance Studies at the University of Kent, UK.

Dr Tara Hamling is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Birmingham, UK.

Professor David Gaimster is Director of the Hunterian at the University of Glasgow, UK.