Making the Grand Figure: Lives and Possessions in Ireland, 1641-1770
by T C Barnard
In this pioneering study of the material culture of Stuart and Hanoverian Ireland, Toby Barnard reveals a hitherto unsuspected richness and diversity ... Show synopsis In this pioneering study of the material culture of Stuart and Hanoverian Ireland, Toby Barnard reveals a hitherto unsuspected richness and diversity of lifestyle, habitat and mentality. Like its much-praised predecessor, 'A New Anatomy of Ireland', it abounds with quirky people and vivid scenes, and amounts to a striking reappraisal of Ireland under the Protestant Ascendancy. The compass of the book is impressively wide, from the governing elite of Dublin Castle to the varied metropolis of Dublin itself, and to provincial towns and the countryside beyond. Looking yet further, it follows the Irish overseas to Britain and to the continent of Europe. What emerges is a world more crowded with stylish buildings, gardens, pictures and belongings than has often been imagined. Through such everyday articles as linen shirts, wigs, silver teaspoons, pottery plates and engravings, Barnard evokes an amazing variety of lives and attitudes. Possessions, he shows, even horses and dogs, highlighted and widened divisions, not only between rich and poor, women and men, but also between Irish Catholics and the Protestant settlers. Displaying fresh evidence and unexpected perspectives, the book throws important new light on Ireland during a formative period. Its discoveries, set within the context of the 'consumer revolution' gripping Europe and North America, allow Ireland for the first time to be integrated into discussions of the pleasures and pains of consumerism. Toby Barnard is a fellow and tutor in history at Hertford College, Oxford. He is an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy. His companion volume, 'A New Anatomy of Ireland: The Irish Protestants, 1649-1770' is also available from Yale University Press.