Feeble references: Catholic material culture

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Rather than a sudden reawakening, Relief and Emancipation exposed the continuity of Catholic culture carefully preserved at home and abroad. This chapter considers and reconsiders Catholic references and artefacts hidden in plain sight. In Johann Zoffany’s portrait of an English nobleman, Charles Townley, and his collection, the main protagonists were materially and intellectually concerned with the past and present of Catholicism. Townley’s family seat in the north of England housed artefacts rescued from the nearby Whalley Abbey. Architectural fragments of the Abbey are, in turn, embedded in local buildings and directly referenced in new structures that reassert the enduring existence of Catholicism. At the same time, largely as a result of the French Revolution, mundane yet highly prized artefacts returned with some of the religious communities exiled since the sixteenth century. These were the ‘feeble references’ that Charles Dickens, in his novel set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots, Barnaby Rudge, recognised.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism, Vol III
Subtitle of host publicationRelief, Revolution, and Revival, 1746-1829
EditorsLiam Chambers
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter16
Pages306 - 325
ISBN (Print)9780198843443
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2023

Publication series

NameOxford History of British and Irish Catholicism
PublisherOxford University Press
Volume3

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