The Digital Encyclopedia of British Sociability in the Long Eighteenth Century

Explore the wide range of topics related to British sociability from 1650 to 1850 and discover how the circulation of models of sociability shaped European and colonial societies.

The Project

An innovative tool and an interdisciplinary approach

  • An open-access digital encyclopedia with a multi-modal search engine
  • An international and interdisciplinary project led by the GIS Sociabilités / Sociability since 2017
  • An EU-funded project (Horizon 2020-MSCA-RISE) since 2019, promoting staff exchange and intersectoral collaborations
  • A digital humanities project managed by an experienced editorial team
  • Encyclopedia entries written in English or French by eighteenth-century scholars in various fields (history, art history, literature, philosophy, material culture, linguistics ...) and reviewed by a dedicated committee
  • A complementary anthology of texts related to various aspects of sociability and connected to the entries

Find out more

Bringing academic research on eighteenth-century sociability to a wider audience

  • Explore the wide range of topics related to British Sociability from 1650 to 1850 and learn about the circulation of models of sociability that shaped European and colonial societies.
  • Discover the collaborative work between academic researchers on primary source material in their respective fields of expertise
  • Browse through 200 entries enriched with illustrations, hyperlinks, footnotes and further reading suggestions
  • Search by keywords, by alphabetical order or by categories (People, Places, Practices, Concepts, Objects) and sub-categories
  • Navigate easily through a dynamic and updatable resource
  • Share content with online media and social networks

Latest entries


Spa sociability in Bath and Pyrmont

Bath and Pyrmont were each renowned for their waters in the long eighteenth century. Bath set up an innovative model of spa sociability that supposedly exemplified the main principles of an ‘open society,’ while Pyrmont also defined a new approach to spa life but along different lines.

James Byres

James Byres settled in Rome in the 1750s and lived in the Eternal City for over thirty years, at a time when the Grand Tour reached its height of popularity. Working as a guide, antiquarian, art dealer and architect, Byres rapidly became a key player in Rome’s artistic, cultural and social life.

Masonic brotherhood

Au XVIIIe siècle, la Franc-maçonnerie se définit comme ‘la’ Fraternité, et ses membres comme frères. Sans attendre Baudelaire et le ‘droit naturel de choisir ses frères’, la Franc-maçonnerie revendique la possibilité de faire des ‘amis choisis’ (beaucoup de loges prennent d’ailleurs ce nom) des frères et de cultiver des liens d’amour fraternel qui permettent de transcender les différences et de ‘réunir ce qui est épars’.


As part of its H2020 programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (MSCA-RISE-2018)), the European Commission has granted significant financial support to DIGITENS, the flagship project of the Scientific Interest Grouping (GIS) “Sociabilités/Sociability”.


Latest News

GIS Sociability Special Day

June 22nd 2023
GIS Sociability Special Day, Bibliothèque nationale de France / Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris, 22 June

International conference - Sociability in Politics, Food and Travel in the Early Modern Era

June 8th 2023
'Sociability in Politics, Food and Travel in the Early Modern Era': international conference organized by and hosted at the University of Warwik. 8-10 June 2023, in-person.

Cycle of talks "La sociabilité dans tous ses états : intimité, plein air, horizons lointains"

June 1st 2023
Talk by Jan Synowiecki (Université de Caen Normandie) "Se divertir sous les frondaisons des arbres : vauxhalls et jardins-spectacles à Paris dans la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle", Musée Cognacq-Jay, 1 juin 2023.