Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Melton Mowbray to Middleburg : transatlantic dialogues in fashionable fox-hunting, 1870-1930
Author: Clark, H.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This study examines the role of fox-hunting in the establishment of Anglo-American elite transatlantic society between 1870-1930, and argues for a new appraisal of fox-hunting and its relevance to the study of Anglo-American elite history. Beginning with a focus on fox-hunting in the sporting capitals of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England, and Middleburg, Virginia, USA, it demonstrates the ways in which hunting culture can be used to understand how rapid change (economic, social and cultural) was assimilated and realised by both the established and newly emerging elites on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite the very different circumstances in the two nations - one as an emerging 'superpower', the other a gradually declining Empire - it explores how fox-hunting functioned not just as a leisure pastime, but as an associational structure and vehicle for elite social intercourse, confirmation of social status and as a representation of national upper-class cultural and social capital, particularly as a transatlantic social season emerged. By breaking down thematic boundaries, this study demonstrates through its comparative, trans-national approach that fox-hunting was not a marginalised, isolated sporting activity, but one that was integral to elite production, consumption and sociability in two advanced industrial societies. It argues that the sport responded to and was the construct of the cultural, political and economic needs and societal aspirations of emergent metropolitan elites. This thesis also offers a new perspective on late nineteenth and early twentieth-century transatlantic history, in particular the role of hunting culture in facilitating international elite assimilation. Through an exploration of the cultural linkages and synergies that endured between the US and UK, it moves away from the familiar interpretative paths which focus on identifying difference between the British Empire and US Exceptionalism. It demonstrates that the study of fox-hunting can serve as a lens through which to compare the ways in which two societies undergoing extensive, profound and permanent economic, social and cultural change adopted and re-fashioned a traditional 'elite' pursuit to support ideas of legacy, tradition, national identity and history. Moreover, this research makes a significant contribution to our understanding of wider Anglo-American relations and the processes of cultural appropriation and re-invention amongst these elites. It demonstrates that the study of fox-hunting should be taken more seriously as it provides a valuable window into the operation of much broader elite social processes. Within US history, it also reinstates the importance of the sport in comparison to other forms of hunting. Most importantly for the study of Anglo-American relations and international elites, it reveals the different stages of cultural appropriation and how elite signifiers were not just appropriated or adapted in the US, but also underwent a process of re-invention that contributed to the growth of a distinctive American identity.
Supervisor: French, H. ; Coates, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anglo-American ; History ; Transatlantic relations ; Material Culture ; History of Design ; Field Sports ; Anglophilia ; Transatlantic studies ; British ; American ; Aristocracy ; Hunting ; Sporting Art ; Sport History ; History of Dress ; Virginia ; USA ; Leicestershire ; Foxhunting ; Equestrian History ; Country House ; Victorian ; 1920s ; British Country House ; Landscape ; Cultural Relations ; Transatlantic Trade ; Architectural Salvage ; Self-fashioning ; Dress History ; Sporting Clothing ; Anglo-American relations ; Anglo-American Marriage ; Dollar Brides ; Cultural appropriation ; National Identity ; Sporting Capital ; Aristocratic Season