Theory and Practice from the Medieval to the Modern
Edited By Laurinda Abreu and Sally Sheard
Anne Løkke Conspicuous Consumption: The Royal Lying-in Hospital in Copenhagen in the late Eighteent
Anne Løkke Conspicuous Consumption: The Royal Lying-in Hospital in Copenhagen in the late Eighteenth Century The honourable royal counsellor, Count Knuth, wrote in April 1802 to the Royal Lying-in Hospital in Copenhagen, to ask if the hospital would receive his married daughter, the Countess Stolberg, to give birth in the Lady Chambers at the hospital. The response was positive on these con- ditions: that visitors should only stay during daytime and pay for their own refreshments and that the baptism should take place at the hospital. The countess gave birth in July duly followed by baptism with the most distinguished godparents.1 For historians knowing the bad reputation the nineteenth century European lying-in hospitals had earned for themselves, it is surprising to meet a married countess giving birth here.2 In the late eighteenth century however, the Royal Lying-in Hospital in Copenhagen had an excellent reputation. Trainee obstetricians from all over Europe came to see for themselves one of the successful lying-in hospitals in Europe and Countess Stolberg was not the only married woman of high rank who was eager to give birth there, attended by the royal birth attendants, even if the main purpose of the hospital was to provide a discreet birthplace free of charge to desperate unwed women, who could otherwise be tempted to infanticide.3 1 Emmerik Ingerslev, Den Kgl. Fødsels- og Plejestiftelse, 1800–1849; et Bidrag til Fødselshjaelpens Historie i Danmark i dette Tidsrum (København: J. Frimodts Forlag, 1915), 11. 2 Irvine Loudon, The...
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