Clare Taylor awarded Paul Mellon Centre Mid-Career Fellowship

We’re very pleased to be able to congratulate Dr Clare Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Art History and a member of the GOTH Steering Committee, on her receipt of a prestigious Paul Mellon Centre Mid-Career Fellowship to work on her project ‘Gilt Leather Rooms: Decorating with Leather Hangings in Britain, c.1600–c.1800’. Clare describes the project’s scope as follows:

Embossed, gilt and painted leather is a material which both attracts and repels: on the one hand its glittering, tactile finish and complex and colourful patterns can be admired for their visual effects, on the other the idea of hanging animal skins on the wall seems at odds with twenty-first century environmental concerns. However, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries gilt leather hangings were at the centre of a global trade, a trade which involved networks around design, making and hanging. The skills and products of specialist tradesmen enabled gilt leather to rival other costly wall treatments, as well as protecting the surfaces of furniture, covering screens and upholstering seating.

This innovative research project will uncover the key role of gilt leather hangings and related objects in relation to issues of status in the creation of ‘Gilt Leather Rooms’. It will also throw new light on inter-materiality in the interior and on the relationship between printed sources, architectural structures and other wall decorations. It will do this by conducting the first full investigation of the people, places and objects associated with gilt leather rooms across the British Isles including not just archival and museum sources, but extant schemes in a wide range of buildings from Edinburgh to Somerset, Dublin to Gwynedd.

Detail of gilt leather from the ‘Cleves’ Room, Preston Manor, Brighton

At GOTH one of our specific areas of interest is textiles and textile work, so we’re really looking forward to hearing more about Clare’s project at some of our future events. Check the Events page on our website and follow us @OU_GOTH on Twitter to keep up to date.

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