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From Garden to Toilette: Cultivating Perfume in Early Modern England

Christine Griffiths, Bard Graduate Center and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Junior Fellow 2018–2019

My dissertation addresses the horticultural and social cultivation of perfume in England during the 17th and 18th centuries. I take a materials-based approach, focusing on the role that botanical and animal-based resources had in shaping both gardens and perfume production. I made significant progress on researching and drafting chapters on transporting citrus and gardens as spaces for experimentation. I also prepared an article on authenticating ambergris. The collections at Dumbarton Oaks contributed greatly to my discussion of transplantation and domestication of citrus in colonial gardens and landscapes. I attended several evening lectures at the Folger Shakespeare Library for the “Before ‘Farm to Table’” initiative, a multiyear project that also draws on domestic manuscript recipe books. My research also benefited from access to collections at the nearby National Agricultural Library and US National Library of Medicine.