Publication – Julie De Groot, « At Home in Renaissance Bruges. Connecting Objects, People and Domestic Spaces in a Sixteenth-Century City »

How did citizens in Bruges create a home? What did an ordinary domestic interior look like in the sixteenth century? And more importantly: how does one study the domestic culture of bygone times by analysing documents such as probate inventories? These questions seem straightforward, yet few endeavours are more challenging than reconstructing a sixteenth-century domestic reality from written sources. This book takes full advantage of the inventory as a source and convincingly frames household objects in their original context of use. Meticulously connecting objects, people and domestic spaces, the book introduces the reader to the rich material world of Bruges citizens in the Renaissance, their sensory engagement, their religious practice, the daily activities of men and women, and other social factors. By weaving insights from material culture studies with urban history, At Home in Renaissance Bruges offers an appealing and holistic mixture of in-depth socio-economic, cultural and material analysis. In its approach the book goes beyond heavy-handed theories and stereotypes about the exquisite taste of aristocratic elites, focusing instead on the domestic materiality of Bruges’ middling groups. Evocatively illustrated with contemporary paintings and images of furniture and textiles from Bruges and beyond, this monograph shows a nuanced picture of domestic materiality in a remarkable European city.

Table des matières :

GENERAL INTRODUCTION 

The Spatial Turn 

Reclaiming Domesticity 

At Home in Renaissance Bruges 

Sources and Challenges 

The Structure of the Book 

PART 1

CROSSING THE THRESHOLD: THE ORGANISATION OF DOMESTIC SPACE

INTRODUCTION 

Functional Specialisation: A Subject of Discussion 

What’s in a Name? The Nomenclature of Domestic Space 

CONNECTING THE HOUSE TO THE STREET? THE SHOP AND WORKSHOP 

Introduction 

‘Historians and the Nation of Shopkeepers’ 

Shops and Shopping in Bruges 

Similarities and Differences: The Broader Picture 

THE MERCHANT IN THE CONTOOR 

Introduction 

The Contoor in Bruges 

Similarities and Differences: The Broader Picture 

AT THE HEART OF THE HOME: ROOMS AT THE HEART OF DOMESTIC CULTURE 

The Kitchen in Bruges 

Dining Room and Salette 

The Elusive Realm of Sleep: Sleeping Rooms 

Similarities and Differences: The Broader Picture 

PART 2

DOMESTIC OBJECTS IN CONTEXT

INTRODUCTION 

DEVOTION ON DISPLAY? PAINTINGS IN DOMESTIC INTERIORS 

Introduction 

What’s in a Name? 

Possessing Paintings in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Bruges 

Canvas and Panel Paintings 

Paintings and Iconographical Themes 

Devotion on Display 

Conclusions 

FOR PUBLIC ELEGANCE AND PRIVATE COMFORT: TEXTILES AND FURNITURE 

Introduction 

Comfort and the Textile Environment 

The Seat of Authority? The Design and Social Character of Seating Furniture 

Show Me Your Bed and I’ll Tell You Who You Are! 

Keeping Up Appearances? Tapestry in the Domestic Interior 

A Colourful Interior 

Exposing or Storing Textiles: The Garderobe and the Cleerschaprade 

Conclusions 

GENERAL CONCLUSIONS 

APPENDIX 1: INVENTORY HOLDERS WHO WORKED AT HOME 

APPENDIX 2: INVENTORIES WITH ‘CONTOOR’ 

NOTES 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

PLATES 

Informations pratiques :

Julie De Groot, At Home in Renaissance Bruges. Connecting Objects, People and Domestic Spaces in a Sixteenth-Century City, Louvain, Leuven University Press, 2022. 320 p., 23 x 17 cm. ISBN : 9789462703179. Accessible en open access.

Source : Leuven University Press

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