Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (Sixth Series)

Research Article

WOMEN USING BUILDING IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND: A QUESTION OF SOURCES?1

Anne Laurence

Abstract

Documentary sources for studying buildings commissioned by women tend to conceal their involvement in building projects. Historians could usefully give greater attention to the formal elements of women's commissions to show how women used buildings and building projects to make statements to a wider world about their wealth, ancestry, social aspirations, taste, religious preferences and their ability to deal with directing builders, managing money and the other practical details that go with building projects. Architectural historians could benefit from an understanding of buildings that do not survive and of buildings which exist in literary works which allow some reconstruction of the spaces occupied by men and women and illuminate their domestic relations.

(Received January 01 2002)

Footnotes

1 I am particularly grateful to Malcolm Airs, Nicholas Cooper and Richard Hewlings for references and for the award of a Fletcher Jones Fellowship and for a Mellon Fellowship (on the British Academy exchange programme) which allowed me to work at the Huntington Library.