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  • ‘Subjects and Objects: Material Expressions of Love and Loyalty in Seventeenth-Century England’, in special section on ‘Loyalties and Allegiances in Early Modern England’ in Journal of British Studies Vol. 48: 4 (October, 2009)

McShane, Angela, 2009, Journal Article, ‘Subjects and Objects: Material Expressions of Love and Loyalty in Seventeenth-Century England’, in special section on ‘Loyalties and Allegiances in Early Modern England’ in Journal of British Studies Vol. 48: 4 (October, 2009) Journal of British Studies, 48 (4). pp. 871-886. ISSN 15456986

Abstract or Description:

This article investigates how and where the emotive relations between subject and state were forged and how these ideas were manifested in early modern England. McShane describes an affective economy of loyalty, embodied in cheap and accessible political commodities: decorated objects made of clay, metals, and paper, on which precious household resources of time, money and emotion were spent. She argues that by engendering, inculcating and insinuating codes of political love into people’s ‘emotional, sensual, representational, and communicative’ lives, ‘loyal’ goods acted as vehicles and texts for what Victoria Kahn describes as ‘the supplementary role of the passions’ in ‘forging political obligation’ and the reformulation of ‘the duty to love’ of both subject and king in 17th-century England.
McShane’s research contributes to a growing theme in scholarship, namely the active consumption of politically significant goods. This essay extends the range of objects under examination to include quotidian household items, shedding light on the dissemination and construction of early modern loyalty across a much wider social scale. The research draws on an extensive survey of collections held at the V&A, the Museum of London, Ashmolean Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum and Burrell Collection. Importantly, by putting illustrated print products back together with other political commodities in the early modern home, creating a broad archive of objects and text-objects where each informs the other, McShane’s approach challenges the typical social historical methodology, which uses material culture as merely illustrative of textual sources.
This article was part of a special section on loyalty and allegiance in early modern England, co-edited by McShane with Dr Ted Vallance for one of the leading scholarly journals in the field. The material was drawn from a workshop on the topic held at the University of Liverpool funded by the British Academy, University of Liverpool and the Scouloudi Foundation (2007).

Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V140 Modern History > V142 Modern History 1600-1699
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W220 Illustration
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1086/603618
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2011 16:18
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2013 20:07
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/420

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