The Material Language of Elizabethan Artificers

Trevor Hadden : History of Art (minor: Rhetoric)

Mentor: Elizabeth Honig, History of Art

Although historians have studied Elizabethan England’s social and aesthetic transformations of the built environment, little attention has been paid to the labor of its craftspeople. Scholarship on Elizabethan architecture and decorative arts has privileged the study of stylistic trends, written records of patronage, and named surveyor-architects. This approach fails to register the ways in which artificers participated in the visuality of the early modern period. To understand the production practices of Elizabethan artificers and to recognize how these workers shaped material culture, Trevor is pursuing a close examination of select furniture and woodwork at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. He aims to develop a methodology—a delicate and precise way of seeing, interpreting, and questioning—that prioritizes the expressive but latent language of the sixteenth century wood carver and joiner.