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Emma Gleadhill

Chapter 9 provides an in-depth analysis of the material development of a powerful friendship between Anglo-Irish traveller Martha Wilmot and Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova. As head of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ekaterina was one of the first European women to hold public office. In 1803, Ekaterina welcomed twenty-eight-year-old Martha Wilmot to her rural estate near Moscow. Exiled from court and finding herself alone and forgotten, Ekaterina hoped that Martha, the niece of her old travelling companion Katherine Hamilton, would be a source of companionship. Martha was given paintings, books, precious stones, sables, shawls and keepsakes in the form of jewellery, miniatures and personal accoutrements connected with significant people and events from Ekaterina’s life. Martha returned home with these objects and others that captured something of her experience of Russian culture, including traditional dresses and transcripts of Russian songs and folklore. It is argued that, on one level, Ekaterina’s keepsakes reduced Martha’s agency to the level of a loyal subject, on another the stories they told of Russia’s female leaders and herself were empowering. The objects would lead Martha to spread abroad a vivid picture of Catherine the Great, Ekaterina and Russian folk culture. By teasing out the complexities of one woman’s material sentimentalisation of a friendship, this chapter reveals the keepsake as a powerful narrative instrument that women travellers could use to defy their inferior economic, social, cultural and political value in Britain during this period.

in Taking travel home
Emma Gleadhill

Chapter 2 shows how elite women feminised elements of the Grand Tour’s practices to better suit the female experience during the late eighteenth century. The chapter draws attention to some of the objects that women bought, found or created on their Grand Tours and the complex meanings they attached to them to prove the worth of their travel experiences to both themselves and to others. It is argued that the evidence suggests that there were marked gender differences in attitudes between male and female Grand Tourists. Women journals and letters home consistently reveal an enjoyment of the social practice of shopping as a pastime central to their travel experiences and a more mindful and emotional engagement with the small objects they bought or collected during their travels.

in Taking travel home
Emma Gleadhill

Chapter 8 looks at women’s engagement in social politics by exploring Anglo-Irish traveller Katherine Wilmot and Lady Elizabeth Holland’s engagement with Napoleon through keepsakes. By marketing himself through visual merchandise, Napoleon came to rely on genteel women’s consumer decisions during his reign. Women used Napoleonic keepsakes to show their political affiliation. A rejection of such keepsakes showed the opposite. In this chapter we see that while Katherine and Elizabeth both had similarly disappointing first impressions of Napoleon, the former rejected his keepsakes to condemn him. Conversely, the latter used them to project an image of an extraordinary friendship with the Emperor. It is argued that it is through recognising the legitimacy of these personal avenues for political expression and examining the cultural and social context in which they operated that we can better understand the complexities of eighteenth-century women’s involvement in social politics.

in Taking travel home
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The souvenir culture of British women tourists, 1750–1830
Author: Emma Gleadhill

Taking Travel Home provides a cultural history of the travel souvenir. It situates the souvenir at the crossroads of competing ideas of what travel stood for which were fought out amongst a rapidly growing constituency of British tourists between 1750 and 1830. Drawing from the theory of the souvenir as a nostalgic narrative instrument, the book uncovers how elite women tourists developed a souvenir culture around the texts and objects they brought home to realise their social, intellectual and political ambitions in the arenas of connoisseurship, science and friendship. Key characters include forty-three-year-old honeymooner Hester Piozzi; thirty-one-year-old Grand Tourist Anna Miller; Dorothy Richardson, who travelled in England from the ages of twelve to fifty-two; and the Wilmot sisters who went to Russia in their late twenties. The supreme tourist of the book, Lady Elizabeth Holland, travelled to many locations, including Paris, where she met Napoleon, and Spain during the Peninsular War. This book is concerned with the whole gamut of objects these women and others collected, from fans depicting ‘the ruins of Rome for a sequin apiece’ and the Pope’s ‘bless’d beads’, to materials from Vesuvius and pieces of Stonehenge. Ultimately, the book argues that souvenirs are representative of female agency during this period. For elite women, revelling in the independence and identity formation of travel, but hampered by polite models of femininity and reliant on their menfolk, the creation of souvenirs provided a socially acceptable way to prove their contentious claims to the authority of the travelling subject.

Lynsey Black

Clemency for women because they were women was hardly unique to Ireland; however, it was notably dominant as a rationale for reprieve in the decades post-independence. This chapter explores the extension of clemency to condemned women in Ireland, engaging with concepts of chivalry and paternalism and exploring the double-edged sword of leniency. The ‘mercy by gender’ position in Ireland in these decades speaks to a culture of chivalry within criminal justice, yet this chivalry was born of deeply patriarchal gender relations which ensured an inferior position for women and the denial of rights of citizenship. Much of the ideology identified in clemency decisions reflects paternalism, an arrangement of power which holds a group or individual to be inferior in rationality. This was a deeply embedded and gendered position in postcolonial Ireland. Punitiveness works to ‘Other’ and entrench social differences for some groups. For women condemned to death in Ireland, in contrast, the leniency they experienced worked to further ‘Other’ them. This found its corollary in their post-reprieve experiences. Just as paternalism saved many from the gallows, it condemned others to lives of confinement.

in Gender and punishment in Ireland
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Women’s lethal violence in Ireland
Lynsey Black

Gender instantly assumes greater salience in attempts to understand lethal violence when the perpetrator is a woman. The scholarship has identified differential responses to male and female offending behaviour, noting the dominance of discourses such as pathology, ‘double deviance’, the idea of women as ‘not dangerous’ and the ‘bad woman’ when seeking to explain responses women’s violence. Postcolonial Ireland offers a new background against which to examine these questions. The findings of the analysis herein suggest the ways in which the Irish example demonstrates both convergence and divergence with the existing literature, and presents novel ways of considering women’s lethal violence. Drawing on the previous chapters, the Conclusion seeks to understand women’s lethal violence in Ireland, situating analysis within the broader literature on gender and punishment and women who kill. Seminal ideas, such as ‘double deviance’, are explored in the Irish context, while the confinement of convicted women in religious sites of detention is investigated under a framework of postcolonial penality and religion.

in Gender and punishment in Ireland
Women, murder and the death penalty, 1922–64
Author: Lynsey Black

Gender and punishment in Ireland: Women, murder and the death penalty in Ireland, 1922–64 is the only book to examine the spectrum of women’s lethal violence in Ireland, exploring the state and public responses to female-perpetrated homicide and the sentencing and punishment of such women. Drawing on comprehensive archival research, including government documents, press reporting, traces of public sentiment and the voices of the women themselves, the book contributes to the burgeoning literature on gender and punishment and women who kill, presenting, for the first time, the case of Ireland. Engaging with concepts such as ‘double deviance’, chivalry, paternalism and ‘coercive confinement’, the work explores the penal landscape for offending women in Ireland. The book presents an extensive interdisciplinary treatment of women who kill in Ireland, and will be useful to scholars of gender, criminology and history. Gender and punishment in Ireland considers the position of women in postcolonial Ireland, tracing the lives of women before the courts, the offences for which they stood accused and the gendered punishment regimes which saw so many confined to religious control following conviction.

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Lynsey Black

Women prosecuted for murder in Ireland were subject to parsimonious pathologising, when pathology is considered through the formal lens of legal insanity in the criminal trial. Across the cases, it was clear that certain women were more likely to receive such a judgement, namely women who were married. Nevertheless, while insufficient to ground findings of insanity, insinuations as to women’s mental capacity were everywhere in evidence. Informal assumptions of ‘weak-mindedness’ and of biologically provoked mental disturbances coloured attempts to explain women’s actions. These were highly gendered and classed understandings of mental capacity, locating women within their reproductive capabilities, within their class positions and within their families. Throughout, claims of ‘low mentality’ could be read as references to both poverty and perceived sexual deviance.

in Gender and punishment in Ireland
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Lynsey Black

Annie Walsh was convicted of the murder of her husband and executed in 1925. As the only woman to die by the hangman’s noose in Ireland after independence in 1922, her case is assured a certain status in the annals of Irish criminal justice history. However, while she may have been alone in facing execution, many of the aspects of her story are far from unique. Between independence in 1922 and the enactment of the Criminal Justice Act in 1964, 292 women and girls were prosecuted for murder in Ireland. This chapter presents the framework for the examination of these 292 cases, situating the research within the criminological literature on gender and punishment and women who kill as well as the scholarship on Irish criminal justice history.

in Gender and punishment in Ireland
Lynsey Black

Women accused of murder were understood according to normative womanhood. The insistence on passive sexuality was mandated by the dominant moralist discourses. Yet, appropriate womanhood was an idea mediated by place and time, and for most of the women before the courts they were understood within a cipher of identity that revolved around rurality, poverty and their position as members of the ‘labouring classes’. Inevitably, gender discourses were refracted through this situatedness. While there were very clear views, then, on the most privileged ways of being a woman, there was considerable nuance within this according to circumstance. For instance, the cases of wives accused of husband-murder by poisoning suggest that accommodations were made when it was evident that women were labouring in a marriage to a ‘bad’ husband. The disapproval towards extramarital sexuality was not a blanket condemnation. While unmarried women were generally subject to punitive surveillance and treatment, there was more leeway for married women. The poisoning cases in particular disrupt ideas of ‘double deviance’.

in Gender and punishment in Ireland