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The 'places' database comprises an alphabetical index of places mentioned in primary and secondary sources featured on this website. The entries in the index describe two fundamentally different kinds of place: places that existed in the 17th and 18th centuries, and places that exist now or in the recent past.

Place names:

Each entry in the database is identified by a 'place name', which will include the name of the main or most prominent occupant of the address, the sign by which it was known (if any), the street and town or locality.

Places in the 17th/18th century and places in today's world:

The database contains records of places that existed centuries ago and also places that exist today. Places that existed centuries ago fall into many different categories; places that exist now are all repositories of documentary materials or of works of art, such as museums, stately homes, libraries and record offices. This creates a major difficulty, as methods of identifying geographical location have changed greatly over the centuries (for example, parish and county boundaries. Furthermore, the location of a 17th/18th century place cannot usually be given with anything like the accuracy and detail of a present-day address: a commonly used street name can create ambiguity, for example. In order to accommodate these very diverse places within a single database, addresses have been described within a loose hierachy of terms. For example, for all the importance of parish organisations in early modern London, the parish was not a useful term to help identify places within the database. Firstly, merely identifying which parish each place belonged to would have created an inordinate amount of work; secondly, if the town or city and the street name are already known, knowing the parish in addition only rarely helps to identify the location of the place.

Place categories:

Places are grouped into one or more category, according to their role within the 17th/18th century art world. For the time being, users cannot search or browse places by category. The categories are as follows:

art sale catalogue distribution point
art sale venue
book shop
coffee house
house/premises of art dealer
house/premises of artist
house/premises of brushmaker
house/premises of coach painter
house/premises of colourman
house/premises of fan painter
house/premises of herald painter
house/premises of map maker
house/premises of painter
house/premises of painter of textiles
house/premises of picture seller
house/premises of print maker
house/premises of print seller
house/premises of sculptor
map shop
music shop
print shop
Repository (20th/21st century)
site of decorative painting
site of house painting
site of picture collection
tavern or inn


Place entries can contain a dozen information fields, although not all will be shown in every record. Here is a table explaining the content of each field.

CategoryThe place category is listed here.
BuildingThe name of the building is listed here.
StreetThe name of the street is listed here.
CityThe name of the town or city is listed here.
CountyThe name of the county is listed here. Historic county names are used.
CountryThe name of the country is listed here.
PeoplePeople associated with the place - such as occupants or artists who worked there - are listed here.
NoteThis is a brief text providing contextual information about the place.
PaintingsIf the place is a 20th/21st century repository that contains works of art, these are listed here.
SourcesIf the place is mentioned in a source document, it is listed here, grouped by source category.
DatasetEntries that have been contributed as part of another scholar's dataset are identified as such here (such as the dataset contributed by Christopher Wright)
WebsiteIf the place has a website - such as a National Trust property or a museum - it is listed here.
Sales which took place hereIf the place is a sale venue, the sale name is listed here.

Browsing and searching:

The index can be browsed alphabetically, and searched by 'place name'. Users can limit their searches to 17th/18th century places or places that exist in the present-day world. As the 'place name' field usually includes the name of the occupant of the address (eg 'The house of Sir Peter Lely in the Great Piazza, Covent Garden') the place can effectively be searched by occupant too - although with limits. Generally only the most prominent occupant will be included in the source name (so 'The house of Sir Peter Lely', not 'The house of Thomas Hawker'), and the occupants or owners of country mansions are not given.

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