Owning China: the material life of London tradesmen 1700-1750

Hsiao, Chihyin (2019) Owning China: the material life of London tradesmen 1700-1750. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3342255


This PhD project seeks to understand how chinaware was used and appreciated in London tradesmen’s homes between 1700 and 1750. Statistical evidence from London Court of Orphan Inventories reveals the consumption of key household items in London tradesmen’s homes. Chinaware, a synonym for Chinese porcelain, was one such commodity which enjoyed a surging popularity during the first half of the eighteenth century. Records show that the ownership of Chinese porcelain fluctuated amongst London tradesmen’s households, indicating potential competition between chinaware, silver, pewter and delftware. This thesis thus argues that local metal and ceramic productions could no longer support the lifestyle required for polite living in eighteenth-century England while chinaware successfully established itself as a luxurious item for tea and dinner services. The change of household fashion not only highlights the increasing number of emerging consumers but also celebrates their desire to upgrade their material life. The dynamic cultural imaginary of exotic goods gave emerging consumers an opportunity to purchase a new social identity which had not been available in the previous century. Ultimately, the want for a better material life changed the hierarchy of things at home and the social behaviour of people. Gender representation, family alliance and business partnership are exemplified through surviving ceramic objects.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Chinese ceramics, eighteenth-century London, material culture.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: Pearce, Prof. Nicholas
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Ms C Hsiao
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-40991
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2019 10:51
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 16:29
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.40991
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/40991

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