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Approaches to Household Inventories and Household Furnishing, 1500–1650

Approaches to Household Inventories and Household Furnishing, 1500–1650 Michael Pearce Inventory texts are structured and patterned by social priorities as interesting as the artefacts described. Reconstructing those priorities leads to a better understanding of the significance of furnishing within architectural planning. This article presents the hall as central to the demonstration of inequality of wealth and power within sixteenth- and seventeenth-century elite domestic architecture and, using inventories which have not been closely examined before, identifies and explains the role of the key furnishings. I n t ro du c t i on Inventories can be rich sources of information about houses and their furnishings, giving valuable insight into room use and plan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Comparing them can build significant pictures of the habits of society, particularly elites in the early-modern period.1 Inventories, however, were compiled for a variety of purposes and each list was selective, the content filtered by a specific purpose. While seventeenthcentury lawyers knew that even `whole inventories' did not pretend to list all household goods, the nature of the filters applied can be opaque to us. Housekeeping practice, legal requirement and a different system of values and categories shaped these lists of goods in directions which are rarely signposted http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architectural Heritage Edinburgh University Press

Approaches to Household Inventories and Household Furnishing, 1500–1650

Architectural Heritage , Volume 26 (1): 73 – Nov 1, 2015

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, 2015
Subject
Historical Studies
ISSN
1350-7524
eISSN
1755-1641
DOI
10.3366/arch.2015.0068
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Michael Pearce Inventory texts are structured and patterned by social priorities as interesting as the artefacts described. Reconstructing those priorities leads to a better understanding of the significance of furnishing within architectural planning. This article presents the hall as central to the demonstration of inequality of wealth and power within sixteenth- and seventeenth-century elite domestic architecture and, using inventories which have not been closely examined before, identifies and explains the role of the key furnishings. I n t ro du c t i on Inventories can be rich sources of information about houses and their furnishings, giving valuable insight into room use and plan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Comparing them can build significant pictures of the habits of society, particularly elites in the early-modern period.1 Inventories, however, were compiled for a variety of purposes and each list was selective, the content filtered by a specific purpose. While seventeenthcentury lawyers knew that even `whole inventories' did not pretend to list all household goods, the nature of the filters applied can be opaque to us. Housekeeping practice, legal requirement and a different system of values and categories shaped these lists of goods in directions which are rarely signposted

Journal

Architectural HeritageEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2015

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