Conclusion
in Crafting identities
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The conclusion summarises the key arguments and intellectual contributions of this book. In doing so it opens with a gifted object – the Goldsmiths’ Company’s Gibbon Salt – a micro-architectural salt that must have been a constant reminder both of the magnificence of the wider built environment of Goldsmiths’ Hall, and the collective virtuosity of London’s goldsmiths. This final material article brings together some of the key themes with which this book has been centrally concerned: improvements to built space; meaningful furnishings and material gifts; artisanal skill as a valued attribute and a symbolic artefact; and the interrelationship between individual and collective identities. The chapter also briefly looks forward, and extends our chronological range to 1666, the year of the Great Fire. This was an event which devastated the livery halls of London’s mercantile and artisanal communities, reducing to rubble the architectures through which company cultures had been organised for generations. The rapidity with which these buildings were re-established, in the late 1660s and early 1670s, often at considerable personal cost to the membership of artisanal companies, reaffirms the centrality of these built environments to collective craft identities.

Crafting identities

Artisan culture in London, c. 1550–1640

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