Friday, 5 July 2013

Ideas Roadshow Interview with J. H. Elliott

I've been contacted recently by the people at the multimedia magazine Ideas Roadshow as their June issue features an interview with early modern historian Sir John Huxtable Elliott. Normally publishing under J.H. Elliott, he has produced several major pieces of  research in Spanish history, winning him a clutch of awards and prizes. In this informative interview many aspects of researching history are covered by Elliott who gives insights into what it means to be a historian, the practicalities of research and why he chose early modern Spanish history. The video can be viewed on the Ideas Roadshow website and the transcript is also available as an ebook (please note registration is required).

 'The whole point of a historian is to reconstruct, as imaginatively as you can, with all the insights you can get on the basis of the available evidence, and see if you can give a picture that’s as true as is possible, given all those preconditions. And it’s a difficult job and it’s a constant challenge to all of us, all the time, whatever we’re writing about.'

-John H. Elliott, The Passionate Historian: A Conversation with John Elliott, Ideas Roadshow, 28 June 2013.

Image from 

Copyright © 2013 Elaine Hunter

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Charles II dishes at Birmingham Museum

I just wanted to share these beautiful commemorative dishes I discovered on a recent visit to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, England. These tin-glazed earthenware (or delftware) pieces were created in celebration of Charles II's coronation in 1661, and would have been made at one of the main manufacturing sites in London or Bristol.  Typical of the time their decoration is fairly unrefined, the bottom dish in particular shows a very crude representation of Charles, however I think they have their own unique charm. The development of English pottery techniques and style is very apparent in the museum's pottery gallery, as you walk round the room you can see the items in each cabinet morphing into more refined and elaborate styles throughout the centuries. There is something very special about getting up close and personal with objects from the period you're researching, I highly recommend it. Birmingham is a lovely museum, definitely worth a look if you are ever in the area, it also holds items from the Staffordshire Hoard and a fantastic Pre-Raphaelite collection.

(Photographs taken by me,  28 January 2013)

Copyright © 2013 Elaine Hunter

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Free Conference: Impact in Early Modern Studies at John Rylands Library, Manchester, 26th Jan 2013

I have been asked to pass on information about a conference taking place next week in Manchester. They are looking for audience members, it is a free event and travel bursaries are available.

This one-day methodological symposium brings young academics (postgraduate, postdocs and early-career researchers) together with a number of cultural partners from Manchester to think about designing and developing ‘impact’ projects relating to their work. The day promises to be both an opportunity to think about and discuss the value of early modern studies beyond the academy, as well as providing networking opportunities for potential future partnerships. 

We are delighted to have as our keynote speaker Professor Simon Bainbridge (Lancaster), who will be discussing his project ‘Wordsworth Walks’, as well as the academic side of ‘impact’ , for example as part of the REF. 

A key part of the day will be sharing best practice amongst the researchers present. We will have representatives from the John Rylands Library, the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and Manchester Libraries; they will discuss their own work on the impact agenda, as well as what they hope to achieve from partnerships with higher education and research. We will also have speakers from both university-led and independent outreach activities. 

To register for the conference, please email This event has been generously supported by artsmethods@manchester, and so we are able to offer the event free of charge. Thanks to the support of the Society for Renaissance Studies, a number of postgraduate and postdoctoral travel bursaries are also available; if you would like to be considered for a bursary, please let us know when you register. 

Copyright © 2013 Elaine Hunter

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

GUEST POST: Rise and Fall of ‘Golden Age of Piracy’

Hello all, I have had a guest post submission, enjoy! If you would like to do a guest post please see my submission guidelines for more information 


Author bio
My name is Mark. I am a historian, researcher and writer. I regularly write on Historical topics related to Medieval, Renaissance, Pirate and Steampunk themes. If you want to know more about me and my blog, then See my blogs Renaissance Outfits, Renaissance Festivals and To be a Pirate.

Rise and Fall of ‘Golden Age of Piracy’

Most of the pirate historians accept the term ‘golden age of piracy’; however its chronological order is loosely defined. This term was missing until the year 1920, when a famous author Rafael Sabatini wrote the novels “The Black Swan” and “Captain Blood”. These novels were later on adopted in the swashbuckling films. Author accepted that there is nothing romantic in piracy as it is just a violent crime. But, the term is useful to define the era of the upsurge of piracy. The term was used in ironical sense. It became popular with this novel. But, it was used before also by English journalist George Powell in the year 1894.
There is a dispute among the historians about the duration of this era. Many of the historian mark this age between 1690s and 1730s. On the other hand, some others count the long duration of 1650s to 1730s under this period. On the contrary, a short time span from 1714 to 1724 was accepted as the golden age in the book “Pirate: The Golden Age” by A Konstam and D Rickman.
The duration of 1650s to 1730s is the most acceptable view, which faced three outbursts of piracy. According to this view, the buccaneering period was the first outburst of this era, which started from the end of war of religion. It allowed the countries of Europe to resume the progress of their colonial empires. Considerable seaborne trade and the economic amendments were required. Mammoth amount of money was needed to be made, or to be stolen. On the other hand, French buccaneers had established themselves as early as 1625 on the northern Hispaniola. The period of buccaneer age is believed from 1650s to 1680s.
Second outburst is recognized 1690s, which is named as ‘Pirate Round’. It is associated with long distance voyages to Bermuda, an associated member of the Caribbean community.  Another time span is known as post-Spanish Succession period, which extends from 1716 to 1726. By the end of War of Spanish Succession, many of the Anglo-American privateers and sailors were left unemployed. They turned into pirates in the Caribbean, West African coasts, American Eastern seaboards and Indian Ocean. This was the last decade of the aforementioned golden age.
In this golden age, a large number of pirates gained popularity and found the place in many of the books written on the pirate history. Some of these raiders include Henry Morgan, Henry Every, William “Captain” Kidd, “Black Sam” Bellamy, Stede Bonnet, Edward Teach, Calico Jack Rackham, Bartholomew Roberts, Edward Low, William Fly, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
This golden age fantasized the modern people up to a great extent. The fictional Hollywood film “Pirates of the Caribbean” presents the scenario of that era with a lot of fantasy. On the other hand, popularity of the pirate costumes and footwears is another example of the popularity of pirate culture in Europe and America.
You can obtain the pirate costumes and boots from various websites in order to get the feel of ‘golden age of piracy’. is an ideal site wherefrom you can acquire these attires.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Early Modern Alphabet: T

Just a man riding a swan, no big deal.

Every now and then I post a letter from my Early Modern Alphabet, sometimes they're pretty and sometimes they're pretty strange, but all are undoubtedly little works of art in their own right.

Copyright © 2012 Elaine Hunter