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Property and consumption

Seminar Questions
  • Do women's patterns of consumption differ from men's? Are there 'class' differences?
  • Is a 'World of Goods' developing in the eighteenth century? Is this world gendered?
  • How restricted were women by the property laws?
  • What do we learn about women's (and men's) lives and material culture from probate records?

Key Reading


Margot Finn, ‘Men’s Things: Masculine Possessions in the Consumer Revolution’, Social History, 25, 2 (2000)

Amanda Vickery, 'His and hers : Gender, consumption and household accounting in eighteenth-century England' in Ruth Harris and Lyndal Roper (eds), The art of survival : gender and history in Europe, 1450-2000 : essays in honour of Olwen Hufton (Oxford, 2006)


Case Studies from the East India Company at Home project:

A. Helen Clifford, Chinese Wallpaper

B. Brian Crossley, Caned Furniture

C. Francesca D’Antonio, ‘The Willow Pattern: Dunham Massey.

D. Kate Smith, ‘Manly Objects?:Gendering Armorial Porcelain Wares.

Further Reading: Primary

Inventory of Joan Browne, Woodstock, 1626

Will and Inventory of Anne Rayer, Woodstock, 1638

Inventory of Edward Doollyes, Oxford, 1666

Inventory of Thomas Hearne, Oxford 1667

Oxford Wills

Durham Probate Records

Further Reading: Secondary

Maxine Berg, ‘Women’s Property in Eighteenth-Century England’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, (1993)

Maxine Berg, Elizabeth Eger (eds) Luxury in the eighteenth century: Debates, desires and delectable goods, (ebook)

Jenny Batchelor and Cora Kaplan (eds), Women and Material Culture (Basingstoke, 2008)

Berry, Helen. ‘Prudent Luxury: The Metropolitan Tastes of Judith Baker, Durham Gentlewoman’ in Sweet, Rosemary and Lane, Penelope (eds), Women and Urban Life in Eighteenth-Century England

John Brewer and Roy Porter (eds), Consumption and the World of Goods, essays by Vickery, Weatherill

Margot Finn, ‘Women, Consumption and Coverture in England’, Historical Journal (1996)

Jan de Vries,The Industrious Revolution : consumer behavior and the household economy, 1650 to the present (2008) ebook

R.J. Morris, Men, women and property in England, 1780-1870 a social and economic history of family strategies amongst the Leeds middle classes (2005) ebook.

Mark Overton, Jane Whittle, Andrew Hann and Darron Dean, Production and Consumption in English Households (London, 2004)

Christine Wiskin, 'Industry, investment and consumption: urban women in the Midlands', in Jon Stobart and Neil Raven (eds), Towns, regions, and industries : urban and industrial change in the Midlands, c.1700-1840 (Manchester, 2005)

Stana Nenadic, 'Middle rank consumers and domestic culture in Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1720-1830', Past and Present, 145 (1994)

Jon Stobart, 'Status, gender and life cycle in the consumption practices of the English elite. The case of Mary Leigh, 1736–1806', Social History, 2015

Deborah Wynne,Women and personal property in the Victorian novel (2010) ebook