Marking Time: Objects, People, and Their Lives, 1500–1800

Cover, Cover, Marking Time: Objects, People, and Their Lives, 1500–1800

Edited by Edward Town and Angela McShane

Essays by Glenn Adamson, Justin M. Brown, Edward S. Cooke Jr., Gavi Levy Haskell, Nathan Flis, Angela McShane, and Keith Wrightson

Published by the Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press

520 pages, 7 7/8 x 10 3/8, 500 color illustrations, hardcover, ISBN: 978-0-300-25410-5

Publication date: November 24, 2020


The period from 1500 to 1800 brought extraordinary transformations to the society of Britain and the lives of those within its colonial reach. Many of these changes—on both a societal and individual level—centered on how time was sensed, measured, and understood.

This engaging volume explores these various relationships with time through a remarkably diverse collection of objects, each of which is inscribed with a specific date. The dates mark significant events in the lives of these objects and the people who made and owned them.

From posy rings to pastry jiggers, teapots to tape measures, these more than 450 objects—and the stories they tell—offer a vivid sense of the lived experience of time, while providing a rich survey of the material world of early modern Britain.

Small, humble, but often surprisingly moving and poignant, the objects in this book show that the things we live with say a great deal about who we are and how we make our marks in time.

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