Humanities and Arts

Objects of Affection? Materialising Courtship, Love and Sex in Ireland, C.1800-1830

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This article uses a collection of mementos curated by Robert James Tennent, a middle-class man to interrogate how objects materialised love and sex in Ireland. It problematises readings of courtship tokens as simple objects of affection, and considers how individuals engaged in culturally-sanctioned courtship practices in extra-licit ways. Gifts and tokens took on new meanings when they were accessioned into the personal archives of their owners and catalogued as mementos of past relationships. Read as a collection of courtship mementos and a homemade pornographic archive, this article argues that the collection provides an unique insight into the curation of sexual memory.