New Book on Early Modern Courtly Matter: Stefan Hanß Conducting Research in Stuttgart


Fig. 1: Stefan Hanß studying a late sixteenth-century cup with a microscope.

©Landesmuseum Württemberg and Stefan Hanß.

The Landesmuseum Württemberg (Württemberg State Museum) published a blog entry on the research of Dr Stefan Hanß, Research Associate in Early Modern European Object History at the University of Cambridge and member of the Materialized Identities team. Working on European feather-workers throughout the last years, Hanß also spent some time in the Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart that holds outstandingly rich and uniquely detailed source materials regarding the history of early modern material culture.

Frederick I and John Frederick ruled the south-western German Duchy of Württemberg between 1593 and 1628. During their reign, the ducal chancery kept detailed financial records. Almost 9,000(!) receipts document the duchy’s expenses for artisans like bookbinders, carpenters, feather-workers, furriers, gold and silver smiths, grocers, jewellers, lapidaries, stained-glass artists, tailors, and wood as well as ivory carvers.

Hanß transcribed and analysed all these receipts during the last years. The English translation of these quittances is going to be published with Amsterdam University Press in the near future. Court and Material Culture in Early Modern Germany: A Sourcebook on the Duke of Württemberg’s Payments to Artisans, Stuttgart, 1592–1628 is going to reconstruct the entangled stories of early modern artefacts between archives and museums. For this reason, Hanß also studied some objects of the collections of the Württemberg State Museum together with curator Dr Katharina Küster-Heise and conservator Moritz Paysan.

Edited with captivating illustrations, the AUP volume will introduce experts and students alike to the fascinatingly diverse world of courtly matter. Prior to the volume’s publication, Stefan Hanß will use the drafts of this sourcebook as teaching materials in classes to be taught at the University of Manchester where Hanß will start a position as a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History in September 2018. Receiving the students’ feedback on the sourcebook prior to its publication not only guarantees that the volume will match the expectations of students and scholars alike. This procedure also makes students actively partaking in academic research and publications on early modern material culture. If you wish to read more on how the research of Stefan Hanß relates with microscoping drinking cups or studying a turtle-shaped automaton used for drinking rituals and banqueting scenes at the court of Stuttgart, follow this link.

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