Symposium | Retail Realms in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on September 13, 2015


From the symposium flyer:

2015 Fairfax House Georgian Studies Symposium
Retail Realms: Shops, Shoppers and Shopping in Eighteenth-Century Britain, c.1680–1830
York Hilton Hotel and Fairfax House, York, 22–23 October 2015

The long eighteenth century was a transformative age for shops and shopping in Britain. Far-reaching changes took place in the way people shopped, the things they bought, the shops themselves and the ways in which they were run. For an increasing portion of Georgian ‘polite society’, shopping, from being primarily a matter of obtaining the necessities of life, became a pleasurable leisure activity in its own right, associated with sociability, sensory experience and the expression of identity. Many historians who have explored the social and cultural dynamics of shopping in the eighteenth century have argued that this period saw a ‘consumer revolution’.

The Georgian shopping experience was not just a social or economic process. Located in shops, showrooms and high streets, it extended to the assembly rooms and drawing rooms of polite society. It encompassed the way goods were packaged and advertised, included the strategic developments in shop design and was a contributing factor in the progressive refashioning of the urban environment. Indeed, the retail realm, as this symposium will examine, was a vital element in the physical reshaping of eighteenth-century British life.

Retail Realms: Shops, Shoppers and Shopping in Eighteenth-Century Britain (the third annual Fairfax House Symposium in Georgian Studies) will bring together research and material from museum professionals, academics, independent scholars and those with an interest in retail history or passion for Georgian studies. Linked to the museum’s exhibition Consuming Passions, the two-day conference will be focused around the core themes of consumerism, consumption and shopping in the long eighteenth century.

Registration details are available here»

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T H U R S D A Y ,  2 2  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 5

9:15  Registration and coffee

9:45  Welcome and introduction by Hannah Phillip (Director, Fairfax House)

10:00  Panel 1: Objects of Desire
• In pursuit of oral perfection: dental retail in the eighteenth century, Rachel Bairsto (British Dental Association Museum)
• Mrs Bowes’ purchases in London, 1743–63, Howard Coutts (The Bowes Museum)
• Marketing quality in eighteenth-century England, Rachael Morton (University of Warwick)
• Shopping for shells, Beth Fowkes Tobin (University of Georgia)

11:40  Keynote Address
Retailing Luxuries: The Deards family’s toyshops in London, Bath and Yorkshire, Vanessa Brett (author of Bertrand’s Toyshop in Bath: Luxury Retailing 1685–1785)

12:30  Lunch break

13:30  Primary Materials: Parallel Discussion Sessions
• Mike Rendell – Richard Hall, Haberdasher, at No 1 London Bridge
• Valerie Jackson-Harris – The eighteenth-century trade card

14:10  Panel 2: The World of Consumption
• In pursuit of pastries, millinery and men: polite female consumption in eighteenth-century Bath, Rose McCormack (Aberystwyth University)
• Shopping for paintings in Georgian Bath, Amina Wright (Holburne Museum)
• A world of goods? Products, promotions and place names in English shops, 1740–1820, Jon Stobart (Manchester Metropolitan University)

15:20  Tea

15:40  Panel 3: Retail Environments
• ‘Behind great glass windows, absolutely everything one can think of is neatly, attractively displayed’: foreigners’ accounts of shopping in London, Alison O’Byrne (University of York)
• An ‘elegant, extensive, & convenient shew-room’: the architecture and interior design of the eighteenth-century shop, Ralph Harrington (University of Leeds)
• Antiquity and improvement: polite shopping Georgian York, Matt Jenkins (University of York)

16.50  Day 1 concluding remarks

17:30  Drinks reception and private view of the exhibition Consuming Passions: Luxury Shopping in Georgian Britain.

19:00  Conference dinner

F R I D A Y ,  2 3  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 5

9:00  Registration

9:30  Panel 4: Branding Advertising, Display
• Josiah Wedgwood I – the salesman, Gaye Blake-Roberts (The Wedgwood Museum)
• Rethinking the eighteenth-century trade card: thoughts on their development, form and function, Elenor Ling (The Fitzwilliam Museum)
• Your humble and obedient servant, Sylvia Hogarth (textiles historian)

10:40  Coffee

11:00  Panel 5: Texts and the Retail Realm
• Catalogues of trivialities? Consumer experience in Austen’s writings, Jane Taylor (University College London)
• ‘Every employment delightful’: shops, self-sufficiency and feminine networks in Frances Burney’s Cecilia (1782) and The Wanderer (1814), Chloe Wigston Smith (University of Georgia)
• Browsing the past: Leigh Hunt and the memorial function of shopping, Markus Poetzsch (Wilfrid Laurier University)

12:20  Lunch break

13:20  Walking Tour: Exploring Georgian York’s Retail Realms

14:30  Keynote Address
Shopping & Sensibility, Helen Berry (Newcastle University)

15:30  Tea

15:50  Panel 6: Beyond Shopping
• ‘…the whole Consumpt of Scotland, or nearly so, has been Smuggled’: how tea smuggled from Gothenburgh dominated the market in the north east of England and Scotland, Derek Janes (University of Exeter)
• ‘Things that are not trifles’: purchasing, pilfering and peddling gloves in eighteenth-century England, Liza Foley (National College of Art and Design, Ireland)
• Sabine Winn and the art of long-distance shopping at Nostell Priory, 1775–1798, Kerry Bristol (University of Leeds)

17:00  Day 2 Concluding remarks

Please note that this programme is provisional and details are subject to change.

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