Early-modern dissent and visual culture

As Michael, Joel and I are little by little filling up the pages of this blog, we realize how little suitable material there seems to be out there to use to illustrate it. Of course, portraits of ministers are not exactly lacking, nor are manuscript pages that institutions would allow us to use for academic purposes, or engravings of later chapels, but we’re not making huge progress with early material, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, with crowd scenes.

David Wykes has dug out the wonderful title-page of The Pathway to Eternal Life: Being the Last Sermon of that Eminent Divine Mr T. Williams, that he has kindly allowed us to reproduce here (see our ‘Events’ section, it’s been trimmed as we’re using it for publicity material for our forthcoming conference). Collage (London Metropolitan Archives) has a good engraving of the inside of Salters’ Hall (1720), which you might well want to check out if you don’t know it already; it’s n°6311 in their collection.

The French ‘Quaqueresse qui préche’ was apparently engraved by Bernard Picart around c.1723 and is in the public domain.

AssemblyOfQuakersI know I should probably know more about this picture and yet I don’t! Can anybody out there help us  with early-modern representations of dissent? We’d particularly like to change the default header that you can see above. Do you know anything that could be suitable and is there any work being conducted in the field, perhaps by art historians?

As talking about pictures makes me think of dissenting architecture, I’ve added a link in the relevant section to the Historic Chapel Trust. This is not a charity I know, but some of their restoration projects are gorgeous. I love browsing through the volumes of Christopher Stell’s Inventory and I’m just sorry such labours of love are hardly available outside major research libraries.


Anne Page

Anne Dunan-Page is Professor of early modern British studies at Aix-Marseille University

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1 Response

  1. Rémy Duthille says:

    What immediately springs to my mind are late-18C caricatures of dissenting communities, eg James Sayers’s “The Repeal of the Test Act: A Vision”:
    http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw60615/The-repeal-of-the-test-act-a-vision
    or the portrait of Joseph Priestley giving “a word of comfort” in a gunpowder barrel:
    http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=47202&objectId=1489788&partId=1
    Of course those images are none too flattering and you might be looking for something else! Best wishes

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