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Luxury and Power

Helen Jacobsen

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693757
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731976 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693757.001.0001

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Luxury and Power

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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This book is a study of the material world of English ambassadors at the end of the seventeenth century and illustrates the way in which architecture and the arts played an important role in diplomatic life. It positions luxury consumption firmly in the political domain and demonstrates the significance of diplomats as cultural intermediaries, highlighting the importance of the material world to politicians and the role that diplomats played in the evolution of artistic appreciation in England.It looks at diplomats abroad: where they lived, what they took with them, and the style in which they lived when away from home. It investigates the ambassadorial household and the role of wives in embassy life, and positions women firmly in the centre of the diplomatic world. It also looks at the extent to which diplomats reacted to their surroundings and the cultures in which they were immersed, and examines their interaction with foreign aesthetic influences. Within the wider context of artistic patronage, not just fine art, it assesses their impact as conduits for the arts, examining their own collecting and the acquisitions they made for their friends and patrons back home. Case studies examine the way in which cultural politics drove the luxury consumption in which so many diplomats indulged and reveal that these patrons displayed a knowledge and understanding of many areas of artistic endeavour that made them indubitable connoisseurs – of architecture, painting, furniture, textiles, silver, and coaches. The book re-evaluates the reputation for artistic patronage of the later Stuart years and finds that the contribution by English diplomats has been sorely neglected.

Keywords: cultural politics; diplomats; English ambassadors

Book.  304 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Luxury and Power

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Procurement and Display in Luxury and Power

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Informed Choices in Luxury and Power

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Venetian Influences in Luxury and Power

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Ubiquitous Display in Luxury and Power

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