New Book | Domestic Space in Britain, 1750–1840

Posted in books by Editor on February 23, 2022

From Bloomsbury:

Freya Gowrley, Domestic Space in Britain, 1750–1840: Materiality, Sociability, and Emotion (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-1501343360, £80.

Between 1750 and 1840, the home took on unprecedented social and emotional significance. Focusing on the design, decoration, and reception of a range of elite and middling class homes from this period, Domestic Space in Britain, 1750–1840 demonstrates that the material culture of domestic life was central to how this function of the home was experienced, expressed, and understood at this time. Examining craft production and collection, gift exchange and written description, inheritance and loss, it carefully unpacks the material processes that made the home a focus for contemporaries’ social and emotional lives.

The first book on its subject, Domestic Space in Britain, 1750-1840 employs methodologies from both art history and material culture studies to examine previously unpublished interiors, spaces, texts, images, and objects. Utilising extensive archival research; visual, material, and textual analysis; and histories of emotion, sociability, and materiality, it sheds light on the decoration and reception of a broad array of domestic spaces. In so doing, it writes a new history of late 18th- and early 19th-century domestic space, establishing the materiality of the home as a crucial site for identity formation, social interaction, and emotional expression.

Freya Gowrley is Lecturer in History of Art and Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol.


List of Plates
List of Figures


Part I: Representation
1  ‘My Anecdotes of This Social Neighbourhood’: The Thick Description of Caroline Lybbe Powys
2  Publishing John Wilkes’s ‘Villakin’: Reception and Reputation at Sandham Cottage

Part II: Movement
3  Material Translations, Biographical Objects: Craft(ing) Narratives at A la Ronde
4  ‘A Little Temple, Consecrate to Friendship and the Muses’: Romantic Friendship and Gift-Exchange at Plas Newydd, Llangollen

Part III: Ownership
5  ‘I Love Her as My Own Child’: Inheritance, Extra-Illustration, and Queer Familial Intimacies at Strawberry Hill

Conclusion: Materialising Loss




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