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Fragrant Walls and the Table of Delight: Sensory (re)construction as a way of knowing, the case of Thornbury Castle 1508-21


Fragrant Walls and the Table of Delight: Sensory (re)construction as a way of knowing, the case of Thornbury Castle 1508-21

Boyle, Sheryl (2020) Fragrant Walls and the Table of Delight: Sensory (re)construction as a way of knowing, the case of Thornbury Castle 1508-21. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Construction brings together ideas, experiences and practices from various crafts in a specific place and time to create a work of architecture. As a manifestation of a culture, architecture in turn influences our ideas, experiences and practices: we make our buildings and they in turn shape us. Investigating the relationship between building and artisanry in history can reveal the symbiotic relationship between making and knowing. This dissertation proposes sensory (re)construction as a way of knowing, drawing us as close to the experiences, practices, people and places of another time as possible, and creating an embodied understanding and representation of the setting, experiences and practices of the interconnected network of artisans in a construction site. Thornbury Castle built by Edward Stafford, the Third Duke of Buckingham (1478-1521) between 1508 and 1521, brought together many such artisans in one of the largest and wealthiest households in England, and yet aspects of the relation between the building and its materiality remain largely undocumented. What is left to us today is a building with unique workmanship as well as descriptions of objects made and used in the household as part of the Duke’s culture of consumption and display.
Framed by the 13 years that Thornbury functioned as a construction site, this dissertation approaches the building as an epistemic site – a place that informs and is informed by the continual process of making by masons, carpenters cooks, gardeners, painters, tailors alongside the Duke and his extended family. The dissertation reconstructs the work in three layers over the course of three chapters, with each chapter building one upon the next. In Chapter 1, I reconstruct the site setting using works of the pen - historical texts, notes, letters, chronicles and drawings. In Chapter 2, I use that setting to reconstruct several epistemic objects in the world of the early modern artisan and reveal their interconnections, including practices, materials and tools that demonstrate trading zones between them. In Chapter 3, I scaffold the two previous chapters to reconstruct practices which I then use to create a series of projective sensory (re)constructions captured in “fragrant walls” and a “table of delight.” The form of each project reveals the process and wit (an archaic term for the senses) which I share with the artisans of the early 16th century and include edibles in the form of sotelties (or entremets) to be consumed at the dissertation defense.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Boyle, Sheryl
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:22 September 2020
Thesis Supervisor(s):Howes, David and Hammond, Cynthia and Phillips, Rod
Keywords:reconstruction, Thornbury Castle, materiality, artisanal knowledge, making, senses
ID Code:988129
Deposited By: SHERYL BOYLE
Deposited On:29 Jun 2021 21:13
Last Modified:11 Mar 2024 13:48
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