The Hand that Rocked the Cradle: The Art of Birth and Infancy

The Hand that Rocked the Cradle: The Art of Birth and Infancy

by Sue Laurence


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Throughout the history of art, artists have been drawn to images of birth and infancy. After all, who doesn’t want to look at a baby? This book uses that bounty of imagery to offer a fresh perspective on the history of birth and the early years of life through a rich array of images and objects, including paintings, prints, sculptures, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, furniture, and woodwork—as well as images from medical and social history collections.

            Exploring a long chronological scope, from around 1300 to the turn of the twentieth century, Sue Laurence provides insight into the enduring nature of many traditions and experiences related to childhood and infancy—many of which we tend to assume are of recent vintage, but turn out, when examined closely, to have roots in the medieval era. Packed with beautiful images, and offering surprising new interpretations and contextualization, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is a treasure trove for any lover of art—or doting parent.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781911604556
Publisher: Unicorn Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/15/2019
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 811,779
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Sue Laurence has served as Head of the V&A Museum of Childhood, where she created many innovative exhibitions as well as securing significant acquisitions. She has also been head of interpretation at the National Archives, and a curator at the Florence Nightingale Museum.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The womb, conception and pregnancy 3

Chapter 2 A child is born 23

Chapter 3 Lying-in 51

Chapter 4 Rites of passage, ceremonial and gifts 70

Chapter 5 Milestones 89

Chapter 6 The cult of breastfeeding 101

Chapter 7 Accidents, abuse, fatalities and abandonment 126

Conclusion 146

Notes 148

Bibliography 154

Picture Credits 162

Index 163

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