Elaine Tierney Biography

Plate decorated with Charles II and Catherine of Braganza, tin-glazed earthenware, England (London or Bristol), ca.1662–85. Museum no. 3869-1901 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Plate decorated with Charles II and Catherine of Braganza, tin-glazed earthenware, England (London or Bristol), ca.1662–85. Museum no. 3869-1901 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Name: Dr. Elaine Tierney

Role: Online Editor, Research Department

Title: Online Editor Research

Research Interests
I am Online Editor for the Research Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and guest editor of the V&A Online Journal.

After gaining a first degree in English from Clare College, Cambridge, I did the V&A/RCA MA in History of Design. My doctoral project, ‘Strategies for Celebration: Realising the Ideal Celebratory City in London and Paris, 1660-1715’, was fully funded by an AHRC collaborative doctoral award and jointly affiliated with the Art History Department at Sussex and the V&A’s Research Department.

My research, both past and present, concerns the material culture of politics in 17th- and 18th-century Europe and, in particular, the practical realisation of early modern festivals. This work uses objects, including triumphal arches, scaffolds, fireworks and bonfires, to explore processes of designing, making, project management and participation, and shifts how festivals are used as evidence of the dissemination of political ideas in the early modern city.

I am also interested in the possibilities of ‘design’, broadly defined, as a methodological tool for exploring early modernity, with ongoing projects investigating the practice of designing for disasters in the early modern world (with Dr Spike Sweeting, V&A) and changing attitudes to ephemerality.

Part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Research Department since 2006, I have contributed to projects including the exhibition and catalogue, Baroque: Style in the Age of Magnificence 1620–1800, and the Handmade in Britain television series, a collaboration between the V&A and BBC4.

I have taught at the Royal College of Art, University of Manchester and University of Sussex.

In 2013/14, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. My research has been supported by additional grants and awards from PALATIUM, Royal Historical Society, Society for the Study of French History and the European Association for Urban History.

Selected Research Outputs (Exhibitions)

Handmade in Britain, V&A/BBC4 Partnership (2012-13)    

Baroque: Style in the Age of Magnificence (2007-9)

Books

Strategies for Celebration: Realising the Ideal Celebratory City in London and Paris, 1660-1715 (monograph in progress, expected completion 2016)

With Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin, Researching Space and the Built Environment (book proposal submitted to Manchester University Press)

Chapters in Books and Exhibition Catalogues

‘‘‘Conveniences of all kinds…. well built, secured from Rain, well lined and matted’: Viewing Platforms for Festival in London and Paris’, Neil Jackson (ed.), Transitory, Transportable and Transformable: Temporary Conditions in Architecture [Forthcoming 2015; with editor]

With Angela McShane, ‘Introducing Europe 1600-1800’, Elizabeth Miller and Hilary Young (eds), Europe 1600-1800 Galleries, catalogue (London: V&A Publishing, 2014) [Forthcoming; in press]

‘Contested Ideals: Designing and Making Temporary Structures for Louis XIV’s Entrée into Paris in August 1660’, J.R. Mulryne and Krista De Jonge (eds), Architectures of Festival: Fashioning and Re-Fashioning Urban and Courtly Space in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014) [Forthcoming; in press]

‘Urban Festival’ and ‘Fireworks’, Michael Snodin and Nigel Llewellyn (eds), Baroque: Style in the Age of Magnificence 1620-1800 (London: V&A Publishing, 2009), pp.166-88, pp.172-3.

Selected Conference Papers

2015 ‘Incendiary Objects: Burning Things Politically in Late Seventeenth-Century
London’ (invited paper: British History in the 17th Century Seminar, IHR, London, 19
February 2015)   

2014 ‘Idealising the Early Modern City: Festival Design in Theory and Practice in Late
Seventeenth-Century London and Paris’ (invited paper: Metropolitan History Seminar,
IHR, London, 26 November 2014)   

2014 ‘The High Life? Temporary Viewing Platforms and the Experience of Public
Celebrations in Late Seventeenth-Century London and Paris’ (Visualising Difference in
Early Modern Europe, Nordiska museet, Stockholm, 10-12 October 2014)

2014 ‘Designing Disorder: Realising the ‘Pope-Burning Processions’ in Late Seventeenth-Century London’ (EAUH International Conference: Cities in Europe, Cities in the World, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal, 3-6 September 2014)

2014 ‘Designed Experiences: The Role of Affective Memory in the Realisation of Early Modern Festivals’ (paper accepted: Things to Remember: Materializing Memories in Art and Popular Culture, Radboud University Nijmegen, 5-6 June 2014)

2014 ‘What Objects Tell Us: Designing and Making Temporary Structures for Louis XIV’s Entrée into Paris in August 1660’ (Thinking with Things 1500-1940. Exploring the Past through Objects, symposium, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, 25 April 2014)

2014 ‘Scaffolding as Viewing Platforms for Festivals’ (University of Bundeswher Munich Symposium: Scaffolding from the 16th to the early 19th century, University of Bundeswher Munich, 22-23 February)

2013 ‘More Enduring Glory: Designing and Making The History of the Coronation of James II’ (Book History Research Network Study Day: The Art of the Book, V&A, London, 6 December)

2013 ‘Fanning the Flames: Fireworks, Bonfires and Representations of Royal Power in Late Seventeenth-Century London’ (University of Bangor Restoration Conference 2013: The Image of Monarchy, 1649-1714, University of Bangor, 29-31 July)

2013 ‘‘‘Conveniences of all kinds…. well built, secured from Rain, well lined and matted’: Viewing Platforms for Festival in London and Paris’ (SAHGB Symposium 2013: Temporary Conditions in Architecture, Alan Baxter Associates, London, 18 May)

2013 ‘Making ‘Ideal’ Spectators: The Place of the Crowd in Late Seventeenth-Century Festival Design’ (AAH Annual Conference, University of Reading, 11-13 April)

2013 ‘Contested Ideals: Designing and Making Temporary Structures for Louis XIV’s Entrée into Paris in August 1660’ (PALATIUM Conference, Making Space for Festival, 1400-1700 conference, Venice, Italy, 21-24 March 2013)

2012 ‘Clearing Away the Everyday: Preparing and Representing Festival in London and Paris, 1660-1715’ (Invited paper given to ‘Town and Gown’ workshop at Oxford Brookes University, 17 November 2012)

Selected Conferences Organised

2014 Representing Monarchy in Britain and Ireland, 1649-1714, symposium co-organised with Dr Julie Farguson (St Catherine’s College, Oxford), V&A, 1 July

2013 The Art of Books, symposium organised in association with the Book History Research Network, V&A, 6 December

2009 Research Co-operation in Practice: Results from the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards Scheme, Annual AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award Conference, Institute of Historical Research, London, 26-27 February

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