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Title: Death, time and commerce : innovation and conservatism in styles of funerary material culture in 18th-19th century London
Author: Hoile, Sarah Ann Essex
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 1301
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis explores the development of coffin furniture, the inscribed plates and other metal objects used to decorate coffins, in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century London. It analyses this material within funerary and non-funerary contexts, and contrasts and compares its styles, production, use and contemporary significance with those of monuments and mourning jewellery. Over 1200 coffin plates were recorded for this study, dated 1740 to 1853, consisting of assemblages from the vaults of St Marylebone Church and St Bride’s Church and the lead coffin plates from Islington Green burial ground, all sites in central London. The production, trade and consumption of coffin furniture are discussed in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 investigates coffin furniture as a central component of the furnished coffin and examines its role within the performance of the funeral. Multiple aspects of the inscriptions and designs of coffin plates are analysed in Chapter 5 to establish aspects of change and continuity with this material. In Chapter 6 contemporary trends in monuments are assessed, drawing on a sample recorded in churches and a burial ground, and the production and use of this above-ground funerary material culture are considered. In Chapter 7 a dated sample of mourning jewellery is explored in order to place the funerary objects of this study within a broader contemporary context. Limited innovation is identified in coffin furniture, in contrast with monuments and mourning jewellery, and it is suggested that its conservatism relates to the role of undertakers in its selection, as well as to the particular circumstances of its use. It is argued that coffin furniture was an important aspect of funerary rituals of this period and can be interpreted as one aspect of a broader emphasis on commemoration and the use of objects to materialise and manage experiences of separation and loss.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available