At Home: Exploring Eighteenth Century Domestic Space
By approaching eighteenth century domestic space from an interdisciplinary perspective, this RECSO-funded study day explored the idea of domestic space in the eighteenth century through a series of papers in the fields of museum studies, heritage studies, history, literature, anthropology, architecture, material culture, design, and social and cultural history.
Questions discussed included:
- who or what defined the home and decorated the home;
- what it meant to be “at home;” and
- What constituted the home, in particular what needed to be present for a home to be defined as such.
Participants considered real homes and representations of the home in art, architectural manuals, cooking manuals, calling cards and fiction; and homes idealized as storehouses for personal memories. Presentations asked whether domestic space was stable and impermeable, or changeable and dangerous, and questioned whether the materials in one’s home (such as wallpaper or calling cards) conveyed an entirely accurate portrait of the extent of the dweller’s sociability. An overall comparison arose between interiors and exteriors of homes as well as between formal rooms of display and more private family rooms and servants’ quarters.
Abstracts of the papers presented are below, as well as links to the speakers’ academia.edu profiles where available.
Panel 1: Inscribing the Eighteenth Century Home
(Chair: Dr. Stephen Hague, Rowan University)
- Dr. Clare Taylor, Open University, “Our New Paper Hangings: Situating Wallpaper in the Eighteenth-Century Home”
- Kathleen Lawton-Trask, University of Oxford, “Written in the Kitchen: Women’s Eighteenth-Century Poetry on Cooking”
- Paula Humfrey, Independent Researcher, “Staging Fictions of Privacy in Early Modern London Households”
- Emma Walshe, University of Oxford, “Paper Politeness: The Currency of the Visiting Card within Eighteenth-Century Visiting Culture”
Panel 2: Gender, Gentility, and the Eighteenth-Century Home
(Chair: Dr. Karen Lipsedge, Kingston University)
- Dr. Stephen Hague, Rowan University, “‘Most Genteel and Hospitable Receptions’: Enacting Status in the Eighteenth-Century Interior”
- Helena Kaznowska, University of Oxford, “Gender, Identity and the Imagination: Baby Houses in Eighteenth-Century England”
- Rosemary Yallop, University of Oxford, “Architecture and Gentility: The Cult of the Villa”
- Dr. Antony Buxton, University of Oxford, “Sentiment and Consumption in the Middling Georgian Home”
- Professor Abigail Williams, University of Oxford, “What Happened when Books Came Home? Domestic Reading in the Eighteenth Century”