Sedition at the supper table: the material culture of the Jacobite wars, 1688-1760

Novotny, Jennifer L. (2013) Sedition at the supper table: the material culture of the Jacobite wars, 1688-1760. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The Jacobite era (1688-1760) was a time of political, social, and economic change, when political culture and social practices combined with new technologies to produce material means of expression that are recognisably modern. By examining the material culture of the Jacobite wars, this thesis explores the ways in which artefacts reflect and inform the socio-political milieu. Specifically, it looks at how domestic objects became an extension of conflict in the period of study, acting as agents of political expression as well as aesthetic taste as warfare moved from the battlefield into the home.

This research documents the ways in which individuals in the late-17th and 18th centuries used material culture to further political agendas by examining artefacts held in collections throughout Scotland. This politicised material culture struggled to negotiate the realities of war within an increasingly polite, Enlightenment society. The messy, divisive political factionalism that characterised the period hid behind a veneer of artistic craft. Political causes were planned and furthered alongside convivial habits like drinking, smoking, and snuff-taking, each of which required specialised material culture. Artefacts such as snuff boxes, wineglasses, and punch ladles were emblazoned with propagandistic sentiments, blending sociability and political expression. Jacobite, Williamite, and Hanoverian rulers materially represented power and authority through objects like medals and portrait ceramics, as well as the official material culture of state. In return, their subjects expressed loyalty and resistance through a variety of material goods, like household textiles and furnishings, or personal dress. Artefacts also commemorated and memorialised events and individuals, with specific types of objects blurring the ambiguous distinction between artefact and relic.

These artefacts have maintained a prominent place in popular imagination over time and still have a resonance today. They have been sought out by private and corporate collectors, as well as public institutions, and there is a robust market for this material culture at auction. This study provides an examination of the collection and display of Jacobite-era artefacts from the end of the 18th century to the present, specifically highlighting the collections of individuals like Sir Walter Scott, Alexander Carmichael, and Frederick Duleep Singh, as well as institutional collections such as the National Museum of Scotland (formerly the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland), as recorded by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and the corporate Drambuie Collection. Further data was gleaned from Jacobite-era artefacts at auction (2000 - 2012) at Christie's, Sotheby's, Bonham's, and Lyon & Turnbull. Finally, this thesis looks at the ways in which the material culture of the Jacobite wars has been exhibited from the 19th century onwards, and how specific types of artefacts have come to materially represent an accepted narrative of the Jacobite wars. Key exhibitions examined in detail include the 1903 Highland and Jacobite Exhibition in Inverness, the 1911 Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art, & Industry in Glasgow, the 1938 Empire Exhibition in Glasgow, the 1996 The Swords and the Sorrows exhibit in Edinburgh, the 2010 Rebels with a Cause: that Jacobites and the Global Imagination exhibit at Holyrood, and the 2011 Imagining Power: the Visual Culture of the Jacobite Cause at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

This thesis assesses collections of artefacts from the Jacobite era, bringing research on this material up to date, while offering fresh interpretations and thoughtful analysis of the cultural importance of these objects in their contemporary period as well as their modern significance. It interrogates this subset of artefacts and expands available resources for future study.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Digital appendices can be provided upon request. Contact:
Keywords: Material culture, conflict archaeology, Jacobite, Williamite, Hanoverian, post-medieval, Scotland, 18th century, collecting, museums
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Supervisor's Name: Pollard, Dr. Tony and Banks, Dr. Iain
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Ms Jennifer L. Novotny
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4659
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2013 08:42
Last Modified: 12 May 2017 14:05

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