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Hannah Wainwright

MA work

Title of dissertation: The Changing Conceptions of Materiality in Relation to the Design, Production and Consumption of the Rosary in Early Modern Europe


The rosary in Early Modern Europe has been the focus of my research. These tactile, pious, personal objects were worn on the person or held in the hand. They functioned, as they still do, as a way of focusing the mind on prayer, by holding them and using the beads to keep track of the numbers of prayers recited. What they were made of affected every aspect of their use, and this has therefore been my focus. They were beautiful, often intrinsically valuable objects formed of precious metals or stones or exotic materials like ivory or amber or materials with mysterious origins like rock crystal or coral. They became accessories, signifying not only an individual’s religious character but also their taste and wealth. My paper tracks the way the consumption and the design of these objects changes as they become items for display rather than active use, and the possible reasons for their presence in collections alongside rare, beautiful, often strange, exotic objects in the [work-title-non-italics]cabinets of curiosity[/work-title-non-italics] that become popular across Europe in the sixteenth century.


Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2011

  • Title of dissertation: The Changing Conceptions of Materiality in Relation to the Design, Production and Consumption of the Rosary in Early Modern Europe


    The rosary in Early Modern Europe has been the focus of my research. These tactile, pious, personal objects were worn on the person or held in the hand. They functioned, as they still do, as a way of focusing the mind on prayer, by holding them and using the beads to keep track of the numbers of prayers recited. What they were made of affected every aspect of their use, and this has therefore been my focus. They were beautiful, often intrinsically valuable objects formed of precious metals or stones or exotic materials like ivory or amber or materials with mysterious origins like rock crystal or coral. They became accessories, signifying not only an individual’s religious character but also their taste and wealth. My paper tracks the way the consumption and the design of these objects changes as they become items for display rather than active use, and the possible reasons for their presence in collections alongside rare, beautiful, often strange, exotic objects in the [work-title-non-italics]cabinets of curiosity[/work-title-non-italics] that become popular across Europe in the sixteenth century.


  • Degrees

  • BA Hons, English Literature, Queen Mary University of London, 2009
  • Experience

  • Sales Assistant, Liberty, London, 2010-2011; Research Co-ordinator for Film Festival, Watershed Media Centre, Bristol, 2004-2005; Production Assistant, Old Vic Theatre, London, 2006