Tuesday, 3 April 2018

'Clothes for the people': dressing slaves in eighteenth-century Virginia (Thursday 26 April)

Time is the relentless linear dimension through which we move. Everything has a historical context. We discover the past constantly, sometimes in unanticipated ways.

The final lecture of the current season is about cloth and clothing, particularly in the experience of slaves in eighteenth-century Virginia.

Most of what we know about the lives of slaves comes from the perspective of observers such as plantation owners and abolitionists rather than the slaves themselves. The history of dress, however, is a useful way of understanding the lives and cultures of people who have left little direct historical record. Knowledge of slave clothing can offer direct insight into the daily lives of slaves in eighteenth-century Virginia.

Our speaker this month, Dr Sally Tuckett of the University of Glasgow, will examine how slaves got their clothing, what the clothes actually were, and how clothing was used to acquiesce in or to resist the control of their owners.

Sally's lecture will be followed by the Annual General Meeting of the Bath Branch, which should be brief. A printed report of the branch's activities will be circulated and the lecture programme for the 2018-19 season will be published.

I look forward to our members' visits to Bowood House and Gardens (16 May) and Gatcombe Court (14 June) and to writing about next season's programme, soon, in this diary.

Mike Short