Mozart &
Material Culture


This website explores the notion that - contrary to traditional biographies of the composer - Mozart was engaged with everyday life, that what he saw, the places he visited and the objects he owned or encountered, offer new insight into his life and, as a result, how we might understand his music. The most important source for documenting Mozart's material worlds is the family correspondence, together with surviving objects that they owned. By way of introduction, the first chapter of this site illustrates some of 'what Mozart saw,' as opposed to the usual bias of Mozart studies, 'what Mozart heard.' It then explores one sort of object, souvenirs, in particular as they were understood in the eighteenth century and how that may inflect the way we read some of Mozart’s works. 

This site is a pilot project. It was launched in March 2019, and in the following five years was occasionally updated.  As of May 2024 there will be no further changes, although the site will remain accessible for the foreseeable future. Readers are encouraged to consult the Project Information page for an overview of the much larger project for which it is proof of concept, as well as for information on the structure of this site and how to navigate and use it.