Journal Article

The Price and Quality of Wine and Conspicuous Consumption in England 1646–1759*

Motoko Hori

in The English Historical Review

Volume CXXIII, issue 505, pages 1457-1469
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online November 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cen277
The Price and Quality of Wine and Conspicuous Consumption in England 1646–1759*

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • British History
  • World History
  • European History
  • International History

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

In his essay, John Oxenford concluded English society as wealthy judging by the constant consumption of wine at higher prices than before. Conspicuous consumption was the vogue of the day and though there are many items symbolizing it, wine provides a good yardstick whereby to measure the real depth of conspicuousness as many in society drank it, while at the same time, it was considered as prestigious. Analysis of samples of account books of nobility, gentry, as well as London merchants, active or retired, and professionals as well as a yeoman revealed that there could be many patterns in consumption of wine. What was a necessity for some was a luxury for others, and the consumption pattern within households could be applied not only to wine, but also to clothing. Quality, expressed in terms of prices, played the key role, enabling consumables to be offered in a wide range of prices so that on the surface, mood of conspicuous consumption prevailed. The price of wine increased, partly because of increments in tariffs, and against the background of generally deflationary movement in prices, which enable one to sum that actual demand played important role in raising it. This demand came mainly from boisterous London residents whose wealth as well as their consumption pattern was indeed conspicuous. Thus, Oxenford was right in noticing the growing wealth, which may have been more pronounced in the area of London and its residents, though the country nobility and gentry continued to consume constant volume of wine, quietly.

Journal Article.  6103 words. 

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.