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Title: From head to tale : the circulation, display and representation of big-game material culture, c. 1870-1920
Author: Moore, Gillian Lizbeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 1875
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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Artefacts created from big game material proliferated during the period between 1870 and 1920 and, through their physical and metaphorical circulation as trophies, mementos, furnishings, garments, and personal accoutrements, became increasingly visible as they percolated from their predominantly elite genesis, into a multiplicity of public, domestic and civic spaces. This study seeks to discern the effect of their dissemination, showing how it impacted on the museum displays, domestic decor, fashionable dress and commodity culture of the era. It reflects the extensive representation of big game hunting, and its material effusions, in the text and images of the expanding periodical press, recognising the contribution of published sources to public reception of these artefacts and their developing role as commodities. My thesis aims to demonstrate that detailed examination of the varied and abundant artefacts which stemmed from big game hunting can offer valuable insights into the social and cultural history of the era and argues that this material's entanglement in Britain's imperial project is too significant to overlook. It contends that the transitions from nature to culture, which these objects illustrate, map the reach of the burgeoning Empire, and plot the dichotomies of late Victorian, and Edwardian, engagements with the natural world and subaltern nations. Scholarly work by John M. Mackenzie and Harriet Ritvo, in the mid 1980's, firmly established the relevance of the examination of material culture, within the contexts of animal studies and imperial history, as a fruitful field for academic research, arguing convincingly for further examination of its varied manifestations. However, a generation later, no comprehensive exploration of those elements appertaining to big game hunting has been attempted. Encouraged by the post-millennial 'material turn' in social history, identified by scholars including Bill Brown (2001), Erica Rappaport (2006) and Frank Trentmann (2009), my work draws on a wealth of contemporaneous factual sources including museum, exhibition and trade catalogues, fashion plates, unpublished correspondence, biographical material, museum records, archival sources and popular fiction, to explore the circulation and representation of big game material culture, during a long fin de siècle, and reveal its extensive influence. As a whole, this thesis seeks to offer a nuanced, detailed and holistic view of the visibility and affect of the material culture of big game hunting in the period.
Supervisor: Plunkett, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Material culture ; Victorian collecting ; Big game hunting ; Museums and exhibitions ; Circulation and display of material culture ; Periodical press ; Fur ; feathers and fashion