Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

Elizabeth Simpson

MA work

Designed objects provide a medium through which persecuted, sub-cultural groups can express their national and religious identity. Such objects function as a tool in the consolidation of a minority community, whist also acting to destabilise popular depictions of that community as subversive. This dissertation takes these ideas and applies them to the paraphernalia of English Catholicism for the period 1558 to 1640.

Section one addresses the design solutions that emerged to circumvent Protestant prohibitions of material religion. It focuses on the mobilisation and mutability of these objects, outlining how they were accessed and adapted to facilitate circulation and concealment. The tensions that existed between secrecy and sacredness are also considered. This section identifies how the unsettled character of this sacrosanct paraphernalia led to it becoming an active agent in the consolidation of a persecuted community, as well as an instrument that fortified faith and assisted believers along the path to salvation.

Section two deconstructs the designs of these objects. With an eye to the politico-religious climate in England, issues of nostalgia and nationalism, as well as transformations of the Catholic aesthetic taking place on the continent, it considers the design choices made by English Catholics. These sacred objects are viewed as a material expression of English Catholic identity, formulated through a negotiation of national loyalties, confessional allegiances and historic precedents. In this way, they provide a means of revealing Catholic understandings of their relationship with both native English Protestant culture as well as that of the Catholic continent.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2009

  • Designed objects provide a medium through which persecuted, sub-cultural groups can express their national and religious identity. Such objects function as a tool in the consolidation of a minority community, whist also acting to destabilise popular depictions of that community as subversive. This dissertation takes these ideas and applies them to the paraphernalia of English Catholicism for the period 1558 to 1640.

    Section one addresses the design solutions that emerged to circumvent Protestant prohibitions of material religion. It focuses on the mobilisation and mutability of these objects, outlining how they were accessed and adapted to facilitate circulation and concealment. The tensions that existed between secrecy and sacredness are also considered. This section identifies how the unsettled character of this sacrosanct paraphernalia led to it becoming an active agent in the consolidation of a persecuted community, as well as an instrument that fortified faith and assisted believers along the path to salvation.

    Section two deconstructs the designs of these objects. With an eye to the politico-religious climate in England, issues of nostalgia and nationalism, as well as transformations of the Catholic aesthetic taking place on the continent, it considers the design choices made by English Catholics. These sacred objects are viewed as a material expression of English Catholic identity, formulated through a negotiation of national loyalties, confessional allegiances and historic precedents. In this way, they provide a means of revealing Catholic understandings of their relationship with both native English Protestant culture as well as that of the Catholic continent.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) History and Politics, University of Warwick, 2007
  • Experience

  • Research Assistant, Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2008; Researcher, The Leamington Spa Hammam 1860-1970, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum/Department for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, Warwickshire, 2007
  • Awards

  • Oliver Ford Trust Scholarship, 2007-9