What if walls could talk? For historian Madeleine Pelling, they can - if you know where to look.
A brilliant new cultural history of the long eighteenth century, Writing on the Wall is told through the marks its citizens left behind, bringing into focus lost voices from the highest to the lowest in society. From the centre of London to the islands of the Caribbean, Pelling goes in search of graffiti, evidence of how ordinary people experienced the world-changing events that defined their lives - from political prisoners to sex workers, homesick sailors, Romantic poets and factory workers.
Here are the lives, loves, triumphs and failures, scratched into the walls of prisons and latrines, chalked up on doors and etched into windows. The names of their creators may be lost to history, but together they tell the real story of Britain's most rebellious and transformative century.
This talk will take place in the Cathedral library and won't be recorded or streamed. Doors will open at 6.15pm and copies of Writing on the Wall: Graffiti, Rebellion and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Britain will be available to purchase on the evening.
Madeleine Pelling is an art historian specialising in the material and visual culture of eighteenth-century Britain. She completed her PhD at the University of York in 2018, and has held research fellowships at the universities of Yale, Edinburgh, Manchester and Queen Mary University London as well as the Royal Archives. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Independent, BBC History Magazine and History Today, among other places. She is an appointed member of the Royal Historical Society and sits on the editorial board for History: Journal of the Historical Association.