On 23 February Helen gave a paper entitled ‘Country House Connections, Yorkshire, Scotland and India: An Investigation into the Asian Goods at Aske Hall, Richmond, North Yorkshire’ at the Yorkshire Country House Partnership Fifth Policies, Issues and Research Seminar, which was held at the University of York.
On 15 February Kate presented a paper as part of ‘Readers Research: Indians and Britain’, an event organised by the British Library that sought to showcase the different ways in which their collections are used by readers. Further details can be found at http://www.bl.uk/whatson/events/event140109.html.
On 14 February, as part of the Reconfiguring the British: Nation, Empire, World, 1600-1900 Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, the project team (minus Helen who is away in India during February) gave a spoke on ‘The East India Company at Home: Scottish and English ‘Global’ Persons, Places & Things’. The talk was extremely well attended and the team received many interesting and insightful questions.
On 7 September the Project Team held a Study Day at the University of Edinburgh. We invited a group of academics, curators, archivists, students and local historians to the event, which was held in the History of Art Department. While there we discussed the challenges and advantages involved in using of memorials and inscriptions as sources. Many thanks to all those Project Associates who sent us images of memorials, it was great to benefit from this wider participation. We have uploaded the images onto the website – they can be found on the Resources page.
During the University of Edinburgh Study Day we also spent time in the Special Collections Department of the University of Edinburgh Library (see images). Skilfully guided by Honorary Research Fellow Andrew Grout, we viewed and handled an extraordinary array of ‘Oriental’ and ‘Orientalist’ items from the collection, including a bound copy of the Quran from the Library of Tipu Sahib, Sultan of Mysore (1750-1799) (see right). In the final session of the day participants discussed the project and its future directions. Many thanks to all who attended this extremely informative day and a huge thanks to Viccy Coltman, Head of Art History at the University of Edinburgh and Andrew Grout, Honorary Research Fellow at Edinburgh University Library for their help and generosity.
North Yorkshire County Record Office Event – On 5 September the Project Team gave a talk to a large audience of local and family historians, academics and curators at the North Yorkshire County Record Office. The aim of the event was to introduce The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 project to interested parties in the North Yorkshire area. Although the talk included an overview of the project and the East India Company it also brought in local themes by discussing the Aske Hall and Dundas family case study, which Helen is currently working on. Dawn Webster from Kiplin Hall generously brought a range of Asian objects from the collection so that the audiences could gain first hand experience of the type of objects under discussion. At the end of the talk, the audience were encouraged to complete labels describing their response to particular documents used in the Aske Hall case study. These labels were then included in a small exhibition which the North Yorkshire County Record Office is now showing about Aske Hall and the Dundas papers in its collection. (More information about the North Yorkshire County Record Office can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/archives). After the public event, the project team met with a smaller group of interested parties in the area and benefited from a fruitful discussion about the scope and methodology of the project. We are all very grateful to Keith Sweetmore and his staff at the North Yorkshire County Record Office for the time and effort they contributed to making this event such a success.
After the event at the North Yorkshire County Record Office, the Project Team spent the following day at Kiplin Hall (pictured right) and Aske Hall. In the morning we visited Kiplin Hall which boasts a wonderfully diverse collection, including some Asian pieces – Goanese chairs, Kangxi vases and lacquer ware chests. (More information about visiting Kiplin Hall and its collection can be found at www.kiplinhall.co.uk.) Thanks again to chief curator Dawn Webster for providing us with such an informative ‘hands on’ tour. In the afternoon, the team visited Aske Hall, home to the Dundas family in the eighteenth century. We are very grateful to Lord Ronaldshay for showing us round the house and its wonderful collection. Aske Hall is open every year during the Heritage Open Days weekend.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Project Associate Theresa Deane for her invaluable help – driving us to both Kiplin and Aske Hall and helping us record the many objects we saw.
On 13 June 2012 Kate Smith gave a talk entitled ‘Englefield, Essex and the East India Company’ as part of The East India Company Study Day at Valentines Mansion in Ilford.
On 16 May 2012 Kate Smith gave a paper at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the Early Modern Material Cultures seminar series organised by the Institute of Historical Research and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The paper was entitled ‘A Foreign Presence? Migration and Material Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain’.
On 18 April 2012 Helen Clifford gave the keynote lecture at ‘Consuming the Country House: from Acquisition to Presentation’, a conference organised by Prof. Jon Stobart at the University of Northampton. Kate Smith also ave a paper at the conference, entitled ‘Objects and Identities in the English Hindostaan’. For more information see http://consumptionandthecountryhouse.ning.com/.
British Library Study Day – On 2 March 2012, The East India Company at Home project hosted a short study day for a small number of Project Associates at the British Library in London. The aim of the meeting was to bring together some of the Associates we have met over the last six months to discuss how far the project has come, where we are going and the methodologies we are employing. As part of the Study Day we split into small groups and discussed the questions raised by particular objects. Much discussion followed and the project team gained a range of new insights into how they might approach and think about the objects in our project. A very enjoyable and useful day! Thanks to all those who participated!
Institute of Historical Research Presentation – On 8 February 2012, The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 project team gave a presentation entitled ‘Domestic Subjects: The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857’ as part of the Histories of Home seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research, London. The Histories of Home seminar series is convened by the Centre for Studies of Home – a partnership between The Geffrye Museum of the Home and Queen Mary, University of London (www.studiesofhome.qmul.ac.uk). At the seminar, each of the team members spoke about the project and how it has developed in its first six months. (To listen to recordings of the presentation go to the History Spot website.) Margot discussed the project more generally, where the idea initiated from and how far the project has progressed so far. Helen discussed the historiography of country house history and the place of the globally inflected country house within it. Kate discussed a case study she is developing about ivory chairs and the politics of recognition, while Ellen discussed how her PhD research explores the imagined homes of Scottish East India Company officials. We hope to have a podcast of the presentations and discussion available soon—and will provide a link when we do. Over dinner after the event, Amanda Vickery (author of Behind Closed Doors and chair of the IHR presentation) challenged us to start Tweeting about the project. As you can see from https://twitter.com/#!/EICatHome, we have accepted the challenge. If you’re on Twitter, please help us to spread the word.
Cotton Printed Textiles, Past and Present Workshop – On 2 December 2011 Helen Clifford gave a paper titled ‘Connecting Threads: The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857’ at the Cotton Printed Textiles, Past and Present Workshop in Edinburgh, which was hosted by the University of Edinburgh, School of History, Classics and Archaeology and the National Museum of Scotland.