Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Cultural Studies

Editor-in-Chief: Miller, Toby

Open Access
Online
ISSN
2451-3474
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Clutter and the Clash of Middle-class Tastes in the Domestic Interior

Kathryn Rachel Ferry
Published Online: 2017-09-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0011

Abstract

Interior design offered new members of the Victorian middle-class a means to demonstrate their success. Yet the choices they made in decorating domestic spaces could be harshly judged, in particular by self-proclaimed taste-makers who, though middle class themselves, came from a newly professionalised group of critics, artists and architects. The styles most hated by these arbiters were those designed to express wealth and status, often through new manufacturing techniques that promoted effect over craftsmanship. This article seeks to examine middle-class taste on its own terms and reveals how it evolved under the influence of the Aesthetic or “Art” Movement of the 1870s. Though ideas about what constituted “good” taste were more widely disseminated after this period the Victorian love of clutter continued unabated.

Keywords: Victorian; design; homes

References

  • Cohen, Deborah. Household Gods: The British and Their Possessions. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006Google Scholar

  • Eastlake, Charles L. Hints on Household Taste. 1878 (facsimile New York: Dover, 1986).Google Scholar

  • Ferry, Kathryn. The Victorian Home. Oxford: Shire, 2010.Google Scholar

  • Gaskell, Elizabeth. North and South. London: Penguin, 1994.Google Scholar

  • Gunn, Simon and Bell, Rachel. Middle Classes: Their Rise and Sprawl. London: Phoenix, 2003.Google Scholar

  • Howe, Bea, Arbiter of Elegance. London: Harvill Press, 1967.Google Scholar

  • Jones, Owen, “The Writings of Owen Jones I.” The Architect. April 25 (1874): 241-2.Google Scholar

  • Lambourne, Lionel, The Aesthetic Movement. London: Phaidon, 1996.Google Scholar

  • Loudon, John Claudius, Encylopedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture and Furniture. London: Longman, 1833.Google Scholar

  • Panton, Mrs J. E., From Kitchen to Garret. London: Ward & Downey, 1888.Google Scholar

  • Prettejohn, Elizabeth, The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites. London: Tate Publishing, 2007.Google Scholar

  • Sweet, Matthew, Inventing the Victorian. London: Faber & Faber, 2001.Google Scholar

  • Walker, Lynne. “Rev. of The Cosmopolitan Interior: Liberalism and the British Homes 1870-1914.” Reviews in History 786 (2009). Web. 10 July 2017 <http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/786>History 786 (2009). Web. 10 July 2017 <http://Google Scholar

  • www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/786>Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2017-05-03

Accepted: 2017-09-05

Published Online: 2017-09-30

Published in Print: 2017-09-26


Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 113–124, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0011.

Export Citation

© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in