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Dr Katie Bank (Department of Music, Sheffield), ‘(Re)Creating the Eglantine Table’.

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Dr Bank is a musicologist focusing on early modern English song and musical-visual culture. Her research reflects an interdisciplinary attention to the role of music and music making within the intellectual history of early modern England, particularly the intersection of music, natural philosophy, the passions, and concepts of sense perception (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/music/people/academic-staff/katie-bank).

The Eglantine Table at Hardwick Hall (c.1568) was probably crafted to commemorate marriages made between the Hardwick-Cavendish and Talbot families. In addition to various heraldic symbols, the inlaid table’s friezes depict gaming paraphernalia, thirteen musical instruments, and several music books, including a stacked score of a devotional song by Thomas Tallis’s ‘O Lord in Thee is all my trust’.

While there is thorough existing scholarship on what the Eglantine Table depicts, this paper explores what can be inferred about the contemporary value of musical recreation from how meaning was produced in the table’s iconography using an approach to music as both an object and also a sounding body. This research demonstrates why recreation, including music making, is defined most prominently by why people choose to engage in it and the human actions that make recreation happen. Viewed in this fresh light, the Eglantine Table, including its musical iconography and notation, offers insight into the meaning of musical recreation and the values that shaped domestic interiors, objects, and social bonds in an early modern English aristocratic home.

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