Church with portraits of Calvin and Luther

Places, Objects, & Spaces

In the third strand of the project we focus on the way in which physical artefacts and locations became receptacles and theatres of memory. This strand is led by Professor Alexandra Walsham.

Engaging with longstanding assumptions about Protestantism’s hostility towards the material realm, we explore attitudes towards iconoclastically defaced, ruined and redundant ecclesiastical buildings, spaces, and objects (e.g. monasteries, altar stones, vestments, images, medieval manuscripts and books) and consider how far they constituted a category of reformed relic. We also consider the construction of fixed public memorials (e.g. to local martyrs and worthies) and the production of portable memorabilia and domestic decoration (e.g. tapestries, firebacks, cushion covers, embroidered bindings, metalwork, crockery). We examine both the symbolic content and significance of these places and things as well their roles in more or less secular rituals, in order to consider the role played by routine actions in processes of recollection and remembering.