Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

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Wednesday 12 April 2023 14.00 - 16.00
Q-3 MAT01a Auctions and Households. Comparative Perspectives across the Globe, 17th-20th Centuries I
E44
Network: Material and Consumer Culture Chair: Bruno Blondé
Organizers: Bruno Blondé, Anne Sophie Overkamp, Jon Stobart Discussant: Anne Sophie Overkamp
Moderators: -
Elizabeth Harding : A Risky Profession in Transition: Selling Art and Books at Early Modern German Auctions in 18. Century Leipzig
The proposed paper deals with German auctioneers and the risky part they played in promoting auctions as a socially acceptable form of trade in Germany. It aims at understanding how auctioneers contributed to making auctions into spectacles of commercial and social dynamic by case studying the Leipzig Weigel family who ... (Show more)
The proposed paper deals with German auctioneers and the risky part they played in promoting auctions as a socially acceptable form of trade in Germany. It aims at understanding how auctioneers contributed to making auctions into spectacles of commercial and social dynamic by case studying the Leipzig Weigel family who worked for the Leipzig university (as “Universita?ts-Proclamator” for rare book auctions) and facilitated auctions for the Auction House Rost. As auctioneers, they advertised and sold rare books, coper engravings, paintings and music pieces.
The paper is conceptually informed by Cynthia Wall’s well-known essay on the rhetorical strategies and cultural implications of the English auction (1997). It broadens Wall’s approach by discussing an auctioneer’s social background and scale of interaction in a German city (civic and academic norms as well as multiple ties and expectations). How might we consider the multi-faceted roles of auctioneers and how did that affect the social and economic setting they created? By bringing together approaches in the history of trade and politics, it, thus, wishes to open up a discussion about the place of auctioneers within the rise of both the modern market and modern societies. (Show less)

Emma Hart : Selling People: The Auction as a Commercial Tool of the Early American Slave Trade
Early modern historians are by now quite familiar with the importance of auctions for selling second-hand goods and real estate. American historians also know that these sales were the main means of selling enslaved Africans in North America and the Caribbean, especially following the development in the 1800s of a ... (Show more)
Early modern historians are by now quite familiar with the importance of auctions for selling second-hand goods and real estate. American historians also know that these sales were the main means of selling enslaved Africans in North America and the Caribbean, especially following the development in the 1800s of a large internal trade on the American mainland. What is less appreciated is that auctions were also crucial for the sale of people in the eighteenth century. Not simply market mechanisms used to disperse people fresh from the horrors of the middle passage, auctions (or vendues as Americans often called them) offered enslaved Africans and indented servants for sale on a weekly basis throughout the mainland colonies. As the property of deceased and bankrupt estates, tens of thousands of people went under the hammer in places like South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia as part of the mundane run of business.
This paper explores the history and the significance of auctions as mechanisms for selling people. The vendue was well suited to this task because it took the marketplace to the person in a landscape where collecting people at a central place to sell them was a resource-intensive business. Using newspaper advertisements, I assess the importance of the trade in people to the popularization of the auction in eighteenth century North America. Equally critical, however, are the implications for these sales on the people who had to endure them. I will also discuss what they mean for our understanding of the experience of slavery in early America. (Show less)

Jozias Kole : Elite Household Estate Auctions in Eighteenth-century Antwerp and Amsterdam. A Comparative Exploration of Changing Practices and Values
Drawing on several large samples of auction advertisements from the eighteenth-century Amsterdam and Antwerp press, this paper will try to locate the advertised household auctions on the larger map of second-hand trade in Antwerp and Amsterdam. How exceptional were the advertised goods? How do the specifically named goods for sale ... (Show more)
Drawing on several large samples of auction advertisements from the eighteenth-century Amsterdam and Antwerp press, this paper will try to locate the advertised household auctions on the larger map of second-hand trade in Antwerp and Amsterdam. How exceptional were the advertised goods? How do the specifically named goods for sale relate to the household inventories in both cities? What can learn these advertisements about the intended public? How did the practice of auctioning in both cities evolve as the eighteenth century progressed? By comparing a commercial city in the Southern Low Countries with the most important commercial hub of the Northern Low Countries, our paper also tackles the question whether different vocabularies existed in both towns, pointing at different or rather similar consumer cultures. Overall the exploration will serve as a good guide to the consumer values that reigned at the high end of secondary markets in an era of critical consumer transitions. (Show less)

Jon Stobart : ‘Genteel and Modern’: Auctioning the Household Belongings of Church of England Clergy, 1760-1840
The widows of a Church of England clergyman found herself in a difficult position: at the death of her husband, she was required to leave the parsonage in favour of the new incumbent. This also meant clearing the house of its contents, usually via an auction. This created a regular ... (Show more)
The widows of a Church of England clergyman found herself in a difficult position: at the death of her husband, she was required to leave the parsonage in favour of the new incumbent. This also meant clearing the house of its contents, usually via an auction. This created a regular and sometimes rapid (re)circulation of household good: what were often substantial houses being furnished effectively from scratch by each new incumbent. We know something of the trials that this could involve from the novels of George Elliott, but the auctions themselves remain largely obscure, often because of a lack of adequate evidence of practices and belongings. Something of both can be gleaned from a collection of auction catalogues for about 30 Northamptonshire parsonages between 1760 and 1840.
In this paper, we draw on these catalogues to identify those responsible for organising the auctions—a set of London and provincial auctioneers who have largely escaped the attention of historians—and explore the ways in which these events were promoted and organised. How were they advertised in the press and how did the catalogues themselves encourage attendance and purchasing? How were the lots organised (both in space and time); how might the selling process have unfolded, and what scope was there for the kind of “theatre” seen as central to fashionable London sales? Addressing such questions allows us to critically engage a historiography largely based on fashionable London auctioneers and auctions. (Show less)



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