, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 413-414
Date: 27 Oct 2010

Ursula Klein and E. C. Spary (eds): Materials and expertise in early modern Europe: Between market and laboratory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, 408pp, $50 HB

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Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe consists of a collection of a dozen papers drawn from conferences held in Berlin on the theme of materials and expertise in 2004 and 2006, edited by Ursula Klein from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and Emma Spary from Cambridge University. The range of materials treated in this volume is impressively large, with the contributions covering vermilion, blood, ceramics, metal ores, ink, ethers, milk, spa water, liqueurs, agricultural resources, gunpowder and dyes. The editors endeavour to give some coherence to the contributions, dividing them into three different ‘parts’—production, market, state—each with a short introduction pointing to themes that the papers have in common. In addition, there is a general introduction that situates the subject in a wider historiographical context, emphasising the growing interest in material culture in the various sub-disciplines of history. Nevertheless, the papers remain qu ...