Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain, 1660-1760
This is a detailed study of the material lives of the middle classes in the pre-industrial era, a period which saw considerable growth in consumption. Lorna Weatherill has brought her highly important survey up-to-date in the light of new research. She provides a new introduction and bibliography, taking account of the latest academic writing and methodological advances, including computing, and offers further conclusions about her work and its place in current literature.
Three main types of documentation are used to construct the overall picture: diaries, household accounts, and probate inventories. In investigating these sources she interprets the social meaning of material goods; and then goes on to relate this evidence to the social structures of Britain by wealth, status and locality.
Breaking new ground in focusing on households and the use of probate inventories, Weatherill has provided a book which gives both a general account of the domestic environment of the period, and a scholarly analysis of the data on consumption patterns.
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