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Hannah Stockton

MA work

Title of Dissertation: 'Death is a Leveller?' A Common Culture of Grieving in Seventeenth Century England

My dissertation, entitled, '"Death is a Leveller?" A Common Culture of Grieving in Seventeenth Century England' seeks to explore the ways in which the individual experience of grief in seventeenth-century England was shaped by the material design of the funerary ritual. Existing histories have been concerned with the social impact of death rites, though, through extensive archival research and detailed object-based analysis, this dissertation hopes to build upon this picture with an exploration of the personal understanding and enacting of grief.

Through examining the funerals of royal figures and those of the middling and lower sort in Kent, my exploration of funerary material culture and its central role in the design of the ritual experience has revealed that across social divides there was a common culture of grief. While the cultural, religious and intellectual concepts through which death was mediated were diverse, there was a common understanding of how grieving should be experienced and enacted. I argue that the aim of the funerary ritual was to elicit emotional responses from the bereaved. Across social divides, funerary ritual centralised the deceased body or lifelike representations of it, while immersing participants in darkness created a material representation of their emotional state. There was a common culture in which moderate grief was considered appropriate, even necessary to bereavement and funerary ritual was key in facilitating its expression.

Info

  • Hannah Stockton profile image
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2013

  • Title of Dissertation: 'Death is a Leveller?' A Common Culture of Grieving in Seventeenth Century England

    My dissertation, entitled, '"Death is a Leveller?" A Common Culture of Grieving in Seventeenth Century England' seeks to explore the ways in which the individual experience of grief in seventeenth-century England was shaped by the material design of the funerary ritual. Existing histories have been concerned with the social impact of death rites, though, through extensive archival research and detailed object-based analysis, this dissertation hopes to build upon this picture with an exploration of the personal understanding and enacting of grief.

    Through examining the funerals of royal figures and those of the middling and lower sort in Kent, my exploration of funerary material culture and its central role in the design of the ritual experience has revealed that across social divides there was a common culture of grief. While the cultural, religious and intellectual concepts through which death was mediated were diverse, there was a common understanding of how grieving should be experienced and enacted. I argue that the aim of the funerary ritual was to elicit emotional responses from the bereaved. Across social divides, funerary ritual centralised the deceased body or lifelike representations of it, while immersing participants in darkness created a material representation of their emotional state. There was a common culture in which moderate grief was considered appropriate, even necessary to bereavement and funerary ritual was key in facilitating its expression.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons), History: Renaissance and Modern, University of Warwick, 2011
  • Experience

  • Cataloguing and research internship, Crab Tree Farm, Chicago, 2013–present; Voluntary research internship, History of Scottish Design Galleries, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013–present; Curatorial internship, Prints, Drawings and Paintings Department, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2012; Curatorial work experience, National Maritime Museum, London, 2010
  • Awards

  • Winner, Clive Wainwright Memorial Prize, Royal College of Art, 2011