Country House Work-in-Progress Seminar

Photo of Waddesen Manor, a grand, turreted manor house.

Join us for the second annual Country House Work-in-Progress Seminar!   

Date and time: Thursday 26 November 15:30-17:00, with a virtual drinks reception to follow.  

This year’s event will continue to showcase current research within Oxford on a range of questions concerning the country house, its history, and its evolving role in the UK and international heritage sector today.   

Current Oxford researchers, students, and their supervisors are welcome to attend. We especially encourage those from different Oxford faculties who share an interest to participate.  

The event is free and will be hosted online via Zoom. Please register your interest by contacting Amanda Westcott at   


15:30 Welcome & introductions 

15:45 Elisabeth Grass, Colonialism and the Country House Library 

15:55 Becky Hodgkinson, Looking Around and Behind Colonial Photographs in National Trust Collections, c. 1895-1940 

16:05 Q&A 

16:15 Lauren Working, 'Forbidden Mixtures': Plantation Landscapes and Still Life Paintings 

16:30 Juliet Carey, Hidden in Plain Sight: Jewish country houses in Britain and Europe 

16:45 Q&A with Discussion 

17:00 Wrap-up and invitation to an informal reception (BYO drinks) 


Elisabeth Grass is a DPhil student in the History Faculty and holds an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the National Trust. Through the prism of the country estate, her research focuses on the socio-cultural activities of West Indian slaveholders in Britain in the eighteenth century. It offers perspectives on wealth derived from enslaved labour and its legacy in our built environment. Elisabeth works closely with the Colonial Countryside initiative and has given presentations and training to staff and volunteers in the heritage sector. A rare book specialist by profession, she is particularly interested in the colonial dimensions of collecting, and in the country house library as a repository of imperial knowledge. 

Rebekah Hodgkinson is a second-year DPhil Archaeology student working on a Collaborative Doctoral Award with the National Trust studying colonial visual cultures, specifically in the form of photographs. This project explores the visuality of the British Empire from c. 1895-1940 in the contexts of heritage monuments and country houses and seeks to understand how these informed one another in constructing visions of the British past, while de-centring the authority of these narratives and the individuals who constructed them. Rebekah is interested in our contemporary relationship with the past and is active on Twitter and Instagram @beckyhodg97. She can also be reached via email at  

Dr Lauren Working is a postdoc on the TIDE project (Travel, Transculturality, and Identity in England, 1550 -- 1700), with an interest in Tudor and Stuart sociability, politics, and empire. She freelances for the National Portrait Gallery and has recently developed a project with the World Museum in Liverpool that will culminate in the permanent redisplay of the museum's pre-modern Chinese ceramics. Her newly-published first book, The Making of an Imperial Polity: Civility and America in the Jacobean Metropolis, explores how English colonization transformed taste and political culture in early seventeenth-century London.  

Dr Juliet Carey is Senior Curator at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire (The Rothschild Collection/National Trust). She is in charge of academic collaborations and research, and responsible for paintings, sculpture and works on paper. She is a founding member of the Jewish Country House project team and co-editor and author with Abigail Green of The Lure of the Land: Jewish Country Houses in Britain and Europe (in preparation). 

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