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Global goods have long been recognised as a key driver of change in the material culture of British country houses in the long eighteenth century. More recently, studies have shown how a significant number of landowning families had strong colonial connections — for example through ownership of plantations or employment in the military or engagement with the East India Company — which generated wealth and opened a direct channel through which global goods flowed to the country house (see Barczewski, 2014; Finn and Smith, 2018). There is also growing awareness of the deep penetration of colonial goods in a much wider group of English houses, including those of the provincial gentry and middling sort. This paper both maps out the broad distribution of global goods and commodities, and explores a hitherto little researched mechanism for their (re)circulation: the household sale. Drawing on a large set of auction catalogues for the English county of Northamptonshire, it seeks to: [1] trace changes in the nature of global goods present in these houses — including furniture, porcelain and animal products; [2] examine the location of these global goods and the assemblages in which they were set; [3] explore what their availability second-hand might tell us about the motivations underpinning their ownership.


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