Thursday, 5 November 2015

Next TVAD Talk: Dr Anne L. Murphy examines ‘Britannia at the Bank of England’

The 2015-16 TVAD Talks series continues with a contribution by Dr Anne L. Murphy, Head of History in the School of Humanities at the University of Hertfordshire. Dr Murphy will examine images and objects representing ‘Britannia at the Bank of England’

The Bank of England adopted the symbol of Britannia at its foundation in 1694 and since that time she has appeared on all banknotes, on a variety of other documents issued by the Bank and in statuary and images within the Bank’s public spaces and on its external architecture. Britannia with her strong and warlike iconography and close associations with trade, industry and profit offered a clear statement of the Bank’s aims and, indeed, the goals of the British state during the long eighteenth century. She also provided a stark contrast with the vapid and vacillating ‘Lady Credit’ images generated during the early eighteenth century by writers such as Addison, Steele and Defoe. Arguably ‘Lady Credit’ represented the worst aspects of an economy becoming more and more reliant on credit, while Britannia represented the security offered by an institution which appeared to resist the temptation to speculate.
This talk will explore why and how the Bank of England used the symbol of Britannia. It will also consider how the public witnessed and understood Britannia as representative of the Bank’s role in underpinning the financial promises of the state.

All are welcome - TVAD Talks begin at 12.45 for 1 pm with a buffet lunch in room AA191 (Art and Design Building, College Lane Campus).

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