6th Jun 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm
Sallis Benney Theatre
Tuesday 6th June
13:00 – 14:00
Room G62, to the right towards the archive as you enter Grand Parade
All welcome, feel free to bring lunch, just turn up on the day.
"Negotiating Simplicity and Extravagance in Nineteenth Century Quaker Dress: Restraint and Excess in the Clothing Worn by Eleanor Stephens Clark and Helen Bright Clark of Street."
Dr Anna Vaughan Kett and Dr Hannah Rumball
This research examines the sartorial negotiations made by two female members of the British shoe manufacturing family, the Clarks, during the nineteenth century. Both Eleanor Stephens Clark and Helen Bright Clark mediated their self-presentation by choosing clothing which displays evidence of both excess, through their choice of fashionable garments, and restraint, as prescribed to them as members of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, which encouraged simplicity and moderation.
“Exotic animals in the art and culture of the Medici court”
The keeping of rare animals was central to the display of courtly magnificence during the early modern era. My research examines the role exotic animals played in the cultural self-fashioning and political imaging of the Medici court, during the family’s reign first as Dukes of Florence (1531-1569) and subsequently as Grand Dukes of Tuscany (1569-1737). Focusing both on the Medici’s use of real animals in cultural practices such as hunting, festivals and court ceremonial, and on the family’s deliberate and sustained deployment of rare beasts as a motif in art, the research reveals how zoological rarities were exploited by generations of Medici rulers to enhance their political might within the Florentine setting and to establish their courtly credentials on a broader international stage. The Medici lacked direct access to the sources of trade in Asian and American fauna, yet in spite of the challenges this posed in terms of animal procurement, the family’s adept use of visual and written propaganda ensured that their zoological collection became remembered as the most impressive in Europe. My study both affirms the Medici family as enthusiastic collectors of rare beasts, while also unmasking the myth that of the Western menageries, the most successful and best-known was that of the Medici in Florence. These are some of the themes that I will be addressing in my talk.
The project is entering its final stage – that is, rewriting sections of the book in line with the two readers’ reports, and polishing/editing the final draft ready for publication early next year. I will be especially grateful for any advice from colleagues on the finer points of finalising a manuscript and on how to negotiate and finance image rights permissions.