‘Our home on the ocean’ Lady Brassey and the voyages of the Sunbeam, 1874–1887: Lady Brassey and the voyages of the Sunbeam, 1874–1887

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Abstract

Between 1874 and 1887 the exceptionally wealthy Brassey family embarked on a series of extensive cruises abroad on their private steam yacht the Sunbeam. Lady Annie Brassey''s accounts of these worldwide journeys, notably her best-selling A Voyage in the ‘Sunbeam’: Our Home on the Ocean for Eleven Months (1878), made her, her family and the Sunbeam household names in Victorian Britain and beyond. With a professional crew and domestic staff, the Sunbeam enabled the Brasseys to go wherever they pleased and provided Lady Brassey with a mobile home from which to compose her travel writings and collect souvenirs from around the world. This paper contributes to a broader historical geography of the sea by considering the contemporary appeal of Lady Brassey''s popular accounts of sea travel and shipboard life. It explores how Lady Brassey''s narratives of these grand oceanic tours surveyed and domesticated the world beyond England, and how they were shaped through the construction of the Sunbeam as a ‘home’ in which discourses of domesticity, gender and empire were played out. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-604
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Volume32
Issue number3
Early online date20 Mar 2006
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006

Keywords

  • VOYAGES & travels
  • TRAVEL writing
  • HISTORICAL geography
  • EARTH sciences
  • Empire
  • Gender
  • Home
  • Ocean voyages
  • Sea
  • Ships
  • Travel writing

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