Politics & Society

Whig junto

Electoral sociability

KNIGHTS Mark

Parliamentary elections were the sites of both polite sociability and impolite, divisive, abusive and highly unsociable behaviour.

Hannah More

Hannah More (and philanthropic sociability)

COSSIC Annick
Hannah More, a woman of letters, was a Christian activist and philanthropist. Her sociable life in Britain’s major social centers, London and Bath, enabled her to use her closeness to the bluestocking.
Pelham-Holles

Kit-Cat Club

FIELD Ophelia
The Kit-Cat Club (c.1690s-c.1720) was one of the earliest and most influential London gentlemen’s dining clubs. It kickstarted the English craze for eighteenth century clubbing and was the first to turn membership into a social credential. With members drawn exclusively from one Whig faction, yet with foundations in the literary world, it became a hub of patronage along lines of intellectual friendship rather than kinship, an informal venue of political opposition, and a prototype for Dr Johnson’s Club, among many others.
Jan Huber, ‘Voltaire on the theatre scene’, 1750-1775

Private theatre performances

RUIMI Jennifer
Society theatre was a highly prized activity during the eighteenth century, especially in France. In salons and estates, both grand and modest, people of the same society and social stratum engaged in amateur theatre. Private theatre performances were a practice in which worldliness and aesthetics intersected, inextricably linked with sociability. In exploring the practice, this entry will evaluate the role of worldly connivance in the constitution of collective taste.
trade card

Shopping

SCHMID Susanne
Eighteenth-century retail underwent major developments: growing numbers of shops with increasing specialization and a wider range of goods available to individuals, who were keen to buy and consume British products as well as goods from outside Europe such as textiles and china.