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Robert D. Hume - The Economics of Culture in London, 1660–1740 JSTOR: Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (December 2006), pp. 487-533
Robert D. Hume asks four principal questions in this article: (1) Who were the consumers of elite culture, and what could and would they pay? (2) What could be earned by writers, actors, singers, musicians, painters? (3) Who actually profited from the sale of culture? (4) How did patronage affect the production of culture? A survey of surviving figures for income strata and the prices paid by buyers suggests that the consumers of elite culture belonged largely to the wealthiest two percent of the population. Analysis of incomes shows that trying to earn a living as a writer, actor, or musician was a tough proposition. Patronage turns out to be surprisingly important, but more in terms of jobs, sinecures, and subscriptions than from individual largesse. Exact equivalencies to modern buying power are impossible to calculate, but scholars need to realize, for example, that in 1709 fully two-thirds of the books advertised in the Term Catalogues cost two shillings or less: a five-shilling book was pricey.
article  jstor  cultural_history  social_history  17thC  18thC  British_history  elite_culture  court_culture  theater  publishing  actors  authors  patronage  patrons  prices  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader

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