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    Craft and Culture: the design, production and consumption of silver in Ireland in the seventeenth century.

    Cunningham, Jessica (2016) Craft and Culture: the design, production and consumption of silver in Ireland in the seventeenth century. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Silver was acquired, used and treasured at many levels of Irish society in the seventeenth century. On church altars, in the bed chambers of nobility, within the strongboxes of town corporations and on the dining tables of merchants, silver was a practical and decorative feature of day-to-day life in Ireland. This thesis accounts for the history of silver – its design, production and consumption – in Ireland during this century of considerable change. This thesis will examine both extant objects and documentary sources to redress the imbalance in the existing literature that has cultivated the impression that the production and consumption of silver in Ireland in this period, particularly in the century's first half, was sparse or, indeed, non-existent. The producers of silver in Ireland – the goldsmiths – were a diverse group of native and immigrant skilled craftsmen whose numbers in Dublin and in other urban centres grew exponentially over the course of the century. The increasing numbers of these craftsmen and the corresponding rise in their production of silver, as this thesis will present, mirrored the unprecedented demand among consumers for items of silver with which to showcase their wealth, civility and taste. Images of extant Irish silver – domestic, ecclesiastical, civic and ceremonial – will be deployed throughout this study to illustrate the considerable variety of form, ornamentation and technique of Irish goldsmiths’ output. These objects bear the marks of their makers, the inscriptions of their owners and the evidence of engagement with prevailing styles of the period, positioning Irish goldsmiths and consumers within the vibrant exchange of European design innovations and fashions. Documentary evidence will demonstrate the extent to which items of silver were commissioned, produced, donated, presented, recycled, sold or stolen. This interdisciplinary thesis will show how, as both artefact and symbol, and within the wider context of European design and consumption, silver played an undeniably important role in seventeenth-century Irish society.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Craft; Culture; design; production; consumption; silver; Ireland; seventeenth century;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 15444
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2022 15:20
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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