From the fall of the Bastille in 1789 to the opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851, history changed. The grand narratives of the Enlightenment, concerned with kings and statesmen, gave way to a new interest in the lives of ordinary people. Oral history, costume history, the history of food and furniture, of Gothic architecture, theatre and much else were explored as never before. Antiquarianism, the study of the material remains of the past, was not new, but now hundreds of men - and some women - became antiquaries and set about rediscovering their national history, in Britain, France and Germany.

‘Hill is a magnificent historian and ... Time's Witness is a book to change the way you think about history.’
John Carey, Sunday Times

Long meditated and meticulously researched, this book ... [is] presented in prose of unassertive grace and quiet wit ... what it offers is a rich feast, best consumed slowly and savoured, and Hill has assembled each course with magnificent erudition.
Rupert Christiansen, Sunday Telegraph

immensely engaging... exceptional ... Antiquarianism was about making the past live again, and Hill makes the past of the antiquarians live again ... we can discern an innovative, sly and wry new form of non-fiction ... a beautifully written and very clever book which is psychologically astute
Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

Not many writers could control this wide-ranging narrative with such clarity or assurance as here. Nor has Dr Hill succumbed to the temptation to tell in a long book what could be presented in a relatively short one. The result is outstanding: an engaging, incisive and thought-provoking exploration of the history of history in Romantic Britain.
John Goodall, Country Life

She has accumulated a vast amount of detailed material and organized it impeccably into a witty and intelligent narrative which is both erudite and readable. If only all history was written this well.
Clare Pettitt, Times Literary Supplement

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