AHRB Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior
'Novelty, Trade and Exchange in the Renaissance Interior'
Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 24-25 June 2003
During the Renaissance, Italians travelled extensively and individuals often were based in foreign branches of Italian companies. The goods they acquired and brought home helped to establish new fashions and to generate a taste for novelty. The house and its contents reflected and supported 'national' and international trade and exchange: apart from artefacts produced in Italian centres, Flemish tapestries, metalwork and paintings, German stoneware, English pewter, Baltic amber, Spanish pottery and leather goods all featured in the Italian interior. But goods were not only imported from Europe: Islamic carpets, textiles, ceramics, metalwork and other objects, whether purchased or looted, also figured prominently.
This two-day Symposium is the first in a series of events related to 'The Domestic Interior in Italy, 1400-1600', a research project culminating in a major exhibition at the V&A in 2006 and an associated publication (see details below). 'Novelty, Trade and Exchange in the Renaissance Interior' will explore the general question of novelty in domestic goods. In addition to examining the stylistic influences of imported wares on local production, and the economics of trade and manufacture, it will focus on the movements of both goods and people across and into Italy. Fundamental questions the Symposium will focus on include:
What changed and what remained the same in the layout and furnishing of domestic interiors?
How did novelty affect the look of the interior, the types of objects found within it and the range of domestic activities?
To what extent did innovation reflect the influence of objects, techniques, people and ways of living from outside Italy or from other historical periods? Was there a resistance to some 'foreign' things (including exotica, antiques, objects belonging to ethnic minorities etc.)?
Can we map a geography and chronology of influences? What places were most important and when?
How were 'foreign' objects appropriated? Did they bring with them 'foreign' ways of living or was their use reworked to accord with local practices?
Was the urban domestic interior a particular site of 'foreign' influences? More so than the court, than religious and secular public spaces or than villas and rural houses?
Proposals for 30 minute papers are invited from scholars from a variety of academic disciplines. Please send an abstract of 250-500 words, together with a brief curriculum vitae, to the address below. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2003. For further information, please contact Flora Dennis, Research Department, Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0207 942 2598 or access the website.
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