The Victorian notion of beauty was encapsulated in their obsession with the ideology of respectability.
Respectability, a complex combination of moral, religious, economic and cultural systems,was organised around an involved set of practices and representations which covered every aspect of an individual's life. It defined appropriate and acceptable modes of behaviour, language and appearance
and regulated both gender and class identities. In particular, the decoration of Victorian homes was seen as the outflow of their gentility. Through decoration a family expressed its proper understanding of life and beauty; the latter was deemed a moral quality. Victorians saw themselves
as arbiters of good taste and moral guides to the appreciation of beauty. Victorian interiors suggest an element of escapism from the harsh industrial world outside; the accumulation of objects suggests a desire for security. However, this proliferation of ornament and pursuit of comfort made many Victorian domestic interiors tasteless. Thus, in their zeal to beautify their homes on the basis of their moral aptitude, their domestic interiors became vulgar. Yet, in this very intersection between the beautiful and the vulgar sublimity is located. This article will consider the complex relationship between the Victorian ideology of respectability, beauty and homeliness in domestic interiors. A literature study, a brief exposition of the context of Victorian England and the ideology of respectability,
provide a theoretical background for the critical examination of a selected Victorian interior.