This post was written for us by Kelly Spring, one of our Friends committee members
This year’s annual IHR Friends summer outing took us to Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath on 8 July. Closed in 2012 for renovation and conservation of its interior and exterior, the house was reopened to the public in late 2013. Many of the Friends at the outing had previously visited the house, but were eager to see the refurbishments. Others, who had not been there before, took the outing as their opportunity to visit the house.
Prior to the tour, Friends met for tea on the terrace adjoining Kenwood House. We then convened in the entrance hall of the house to meet our tour leader. Our guide provided a wide range of information, covering the history of the house, giving details of its furnishings, and discussing the paintings in the rooms.
Dido Elizabeth Belle
Among the owners was William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, who bought the house in 1754. As Lord Chief Justice, Murray is noted for ruling that slavery was illegal in Britain. His half African great-niece, Dido Elizabeth Belle, was recently made cinematically famous with the 2014 release of the film ‘Belle’ which details her life at Kenwood.
Painting by William Larkin (1613), Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset
Another important resident was Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, whose collection of paintings adorns the walls of Kenwood House.
Paintings that are of particular note include: a self-portrait of Rembrandt (c. 1665), ‘The Guitar Player’ by Vermeer (c. 1672), and ‘Old London Bridge’ by de Jough (c. 1630). Our guide also highlighted the newly installed portraits on the 1st floor of the house by William Larkin which depict members of the court of James I. Although the tour was to last for one hour, it stretched to an hour and a half so that we could take in this special collection of portraits.
Following the extended tour of the house, many of the Friends stayed on to have lunch and discuss the restorations to Kenwood.
Professor Sir David Cannadine
More exciting Friends events are planned in the autumn as the Institute returns to its home in the North Block of Senate House. The Annual General Meeting of the Friends will take place on 27 October and will be followed by the Annual Friends Lecture delivered by Professor Sir David Cannadine, former Director of the Institute of Historical Research.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the spread of what we now know as the cold chain sparked controversy in both Europe and North America. This article examines popular distrust of early refrigerated transport and storage in light of larger debates about how best to procure good food at a fair price. Expanding on E. P. Thompson’s concept of moral economy, the article shows that refrigeration proved controversial not simply because it helped de-localize and industrialize food supply. It also challenged norms that had previously governed trade in perishables, especially those concerning transparency, naturalness and freshness.
We are beginning to move books and finalise shelving layouts in preparation for the move. Some books which have been on open access need to be temporarily moved into closed access to be shelved in sequence. This particularly affects books at B.0 (British bibliography), place names series and folios. They can still be requested if required, and will be returning to open access after the move. Please check the catalogue for details of specific items.
The fetch service and staffing of the enquiry office may also be disrupted during the next 2 weeks. We will guarantee a fetch at 9am and 2pm, but other times (11am and 4.30pm) may be affected, and you are advised to check with library or reception staff if a request is urgent (020 7862 8760/8740).
The library will close completely from Saturday 16th August to Saturday 30th August inclusive. We hope to reopen in the north block on Monday 1st September but please check the IHR website and blog for updates nearer the time..
We apologise for the disruption caused during this period, but we have attempted to keep the closure period to a minimum. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the refurbished IHR complete with the much missed common room!
Back working from home this week, as the elongated summer occupation of my flat by relatives and their children has been temporarily lifted. There’s nothing like the prospect of returning to a house full of sugar-fuelled nine-year olds to make the IHR suddenly seem more attractive. Sadly the respite is brief, even now my phone buzzes with news of this afternoon’s arrivals. Perhaps moving to the seaside may have been an error…
Right, enough moaning about people being nice enough to visit, and on with this week’s offerings. We start with Steven Jones’ The Emergence of the Digital Humanities – James Baker and the author discuss a volume which has plenty to offer every historian (no. 1634, with response here).
Next up is Women in Eighteenth-Century Scotland: Intimate Intellectual and Public Lives, edited by Katie Barclay and Deborah Simonton. Catriona Macleod reckons this to be a rich and engaging work with some excellent contributions that will reward all with an interest in gender history in Scotland and beyond (no. 1633).
Then we turn to John Appleby’s Women and English Piracy, 1540-1720: Partners and Victims of Crime, which Daniel Lange judges to be a well written, insightful, and long-overdue study of the various roles women played as supporters and accessories of pirates (no. 1632).
Finally we have The Favor of Friends: Intercession and Aristocratic Politics in Carolingian and Ottonian Europe by Sean Gilsdorf. Levi Roach finds this to be an example of charter scholarship at its finest, combining diplomatic precision and rigour with a strong sense of the broader socio-political significance of the practices examined (no. 1631).
The Institute of Historical Research is pleased and proud to be supporting this recent addition to British history scholarship. Developing out of the IHR’s long-standing collaborative partnership with Japanese universities, and now in its fourth year, the East Asian Journal of British History features some of the best emergent scholarship from Anglophone historians working in China, Japan, and South Korea.
Divided between an articles section and one devoted to reviews, the journal’s remit wide-ranging covering all fields and periods of British history. It complements the triennial Anglo-Japanese Conference organised by the IHR and Japanese historians based at the universities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, and the conference of the East Asian Society of British history, in which we are joined by our colleagues from South Korea. In future, we hope that more contributions will be featured in the journal from the Chinese mainland and from Taiwan.
Summer has arrived with a vengeance at the IHR this week, and as ever in England the rarity of hot weather leads us to be unsure of how to handle it properly. For instance, some considerable time elapsed before we realised that what we thought was an air-conditioner was actually blowing out hot air….
Somehow, despite the conditions, we’ve still managed to produce this week’s helping of reviews, and we begin with a great interview between our own Jordan Landes and Amanda Herbert, author of Female Alliances: Gender, Identity, and Friendship in Early Modern Britain (no. 1630).
Then we have three more First World War reviews, beginning with Ross Davies’ review article on art from the First World War, in which he deals with a plethora of different books on the subject (no. 1629).
Next up is The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds. Jay Winter praises a masterly history, written by one of our finest historians (no. 1628).
Finally there is Ryan Floyd’s Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914-December 1915. Moritz Pöllath advises historians and interested readers alike to read this book, an insightful study on America’s entry into the First World War (no. 1627).
2014 History libraries & research open day by Kate Wilcox
Save this date: Tuesday 20 January 2015! For anyone studying and researching history or related disciplines, this will be an important opportunity to locate key libraries, archives and collections. Following up on the successful 2014 History Day, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research Library will be hosting a second History libraries & research open day with the support of the School of Advanced Study. With the open history fair and one-on-one research clinics in Macmillan Hall and training sessions in a nearby seminar room, the event aims to match researchers and historians with the skills and collections they need. Keep an eye on the event website for further details and we hope to see you here in January!
Utilizing archival material and analysing Read’s poetry, prose and polemical writing, this article argues that Read’s perception of the war was deeply ambiguous, and shifted in response to the changing view of the conflict in British cultural history. He saw the war as at once disabling and liberating, and his continual return to the conflict as a subject in his writing was a process of attempting to fix its ultimate meaning to his life.
This article explores how attitudes to black people were translated into practice by examining how the latter fared as victims, witnesses and especially as the accused when they came to the Old Bailey in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.