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Lady Caroline Bucknall Estcourt’s Album Revealing the Expressive Discourse Concealed within a Victorian Cultural Artifact

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Lady Caroline Bucknall Estcourt’s Album Revealing the Expressive Discourse Concealed within a Victorian Cultural Artifact

Sheppard, Patricia (2012) Lady Caroline Bucknall Estcourt’s Album Revealing the Expressive Discourse Concealed within a Victorian Cultural Artifact. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Lady Caroline Bucknall Estcourt’s Album
Revealing the Expressive Discourse Concealed within a Victorian Cultural Artifact
Patricia Sheppard
Albums, defined when new by their barrenness, have long served as welcoming repositories for words, pictures and keepsakes. They are cultural artifacts that leave behind traces of a rhetorical impulse to express oneself in a wide range of topics including family, social, political and economic concerns. It is only recently, however, that scholars have begun to recognize their potential as a source for academic research.
Lady Bucknall Estcourt, a British aristocratic military wife, worked on such an
album for nearly forty years (1837-1875), five of which were spent accompanying her husband during two military postings in Canada. Despite the lack of overtly personal content and the initial impression of randomness conveyed by the materials within the album, a detailed analysis reveals the presence of a coherent, vital, and very personal narrative. What is intriguing is that this has been accomplished as much through the absence as through the presence of its creator. Using a variety of coding techniques, she
memorialized important events of her life. She engaged with the important discourses of her era by making her husband’s military career and, by extension, Great Britain’s much larger imperial project important subjects of her album. Through my work of decoding, this thesis sheds new light on how one aristocratic Victorian woman used the material and visual culture at her disposal to express her own identity. By understanding the how, it has been possible to gain insight into the what, the impact of the broader concerns of an era on one woman, and thus to provide a uniquely feminine perspective.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Sheppard, Patricia
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:15 April 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Huneault, Kristina
ID Code:973981
Deposited By:PATRICIA SHEPPARD
Deposited On:19 Jun 2012 14:23
Last Modified:19 Jun 2012 14:23
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