Social credit: Englishwomen in expatriate Florence post-1815

Chalus, E (2015) Social credit: Englishwomen in expatriate Florence post-1815. In: ISECS 2015 – 14th International Congress for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 27-31 July 2015, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

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This paper aims to explore the part played by elite English expatriate women as social gatekeepers in Florence, c.1815–20. By looking at the formal and informal sociocultural activities of two important British women from very different personal backgrounds — Priscilla, Lady Burghersh, the wife of the British minister plenipotentiary to Tuscany and herself a niece of the duke of Wellington; and Elizabeth, Lady Fremantle, the Anglo-Italian Catholic wife of an English Admiral (as of 1819 Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean) — this paper will suggest that social acceptance into to elite expatriate society depended upon being able to establish roughly the same sort of social credit that was necessary in England. While high birth, the possession of broad estates and substantial wealth still mattered, the physical and psychological distancing from England placed more value on connexion, display and behaviour. As such, arguably, it also gave women, as social gatekeepers, greater power.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2015 17:02
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:41
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