PhD Working Title 'A Tasteful and Comfortable Pregnancy: Women of the Social Elite, Dressing the Maternal Body 1680-1830'
Pregnant women were a routine sight in the public landscape of eighteenth-century England, yet this is rarely represented in public history or academia. I analyse maternal clothing to find new information about the appearance and the lived experiences of elite pregnant women in the past.
The central questions which frame my research are:
How did elite women of the long eighteenth century dress when they were pregnant? and what were the political, cultural, practical and social reasons behind their sartorial choices?
My PhD encompasses themes of female power, practicality, (dis)comfort and taste in eighteenth century England.
- Women's dress in the long eighteenth century including elite fashions, stays and court dress. Material culture. Clothing design, construction, and the methodology of analysing extant costume.
- The maternal body in early modern England. The history of obstetrics and gynaecology, embodied experiences of pregnancy, discomfort and emotions. Pregnancy in letters, diaries and print culture.
- The pregnancies of elite women, royal women, and fashion leaders. Taste, politics, and power in the long eighteenth century. The culture of elite spaces including royal court, fashionable public spaces, and polite private spaces.
External impact and engagement
Postgraduate convenor of Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century Seminar Series at the Institute of Historical Research
International Women's Day Guest Speaker at Dulwich College, London
2024 British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Annual Conference at Oxford University 'Finely Dressed and Heavily Pregnant: Maternal Bodies and Elite Culture 1720-1830'
2023 The Maternal Bodies Symposium at Birmingham University 'Power, Dress and the Maternal Body in Eighteenth Century Elite Culture'
2023 I was selected to present my PhD as a 5 minute lightening talk at the Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century Seminar Series at the Institute of Historical Research
2021 Discomfort: The Uncomfortable Eighteenth Century 'Grosse with Child and Uncomfortably Clothed?'
Contribution to discipline
I am a member of the executive committee at the Costume Society I manage the society's annual conference and major events
Guest speaker, History Hack Podcast, Maternal Clothing in the Long 18th Century
Founder of Babies in Museums helping parents of young children to visit museums, helping museums to welcome babies and their families
I am a mature student having worked in museums, historic houses and as a public historian for 15 years and counting. I specialise in communications and commercial strategy, marketing, and project management. I love bringing new communities into heritage environments and developing new sorts of engagement. I am an Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in recognition of my work in museums, public history, and the heritage industry.
PhD candidate in History begun in September 2022. My PhD supervisor is Prof. Helen Berry
Postgraduate convenor of Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century Seminar Series at the Institute of Historical Research since 2023
Founder of Babies in Museums since 2019
Conferences and Programme at The Costume Society since 2018
Hall Place Historic House and Gardens 2016 - 2017
Head of Events and Heritage Engagement at Lambeth Palace 2007-2016
Special Exhibitions at Lambeth Palace Library 2010, 2011 and 2012
M.Litt in History from Newcastle University 2007
BA (Hons) in History from Newcastle University 2004
X / Twitter: @AmyWilsonStorey