Small Things in the Eighteenth Century: The Political and Personal Value of the Miniature

Chloe Wigston Smith (Editor), Beth Fowkes Tobin (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Offering an intimate history of how small things were used, handled, and worn, this collection shows how objects such as mugs and handkerchiefs were entangled with quotidian practices and rituals of bodily care. Small things, from tiny books to ceramic trinkets and toothpick cases, could delight and entertain, generating tactile pleasures for users while at the same time signalling the limits of the body's adeptness or the hand's dexterity. Simultaneously, the volume explores the striking mobility of small things: how fans, coins, rings, and pottery could, for instance, carry political, philosophical, and cultural concepts into circumscribed spaces. From the decorative and playful to the useful and performative, such small things as tea caddies, wampum beads, and drawings of ants negotiated larger political, cultural, and scientific shifts as they transported aesthetic and cultural practices across borders, via nationalist imagery, gift exchange, and the movement of global goods.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages280
ISBN (Print) 9781108834452
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

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