Victorian domestic interiors as subliminal space

Show simple item record Karusseit, Catherine 2008-05-23T07:07:55Z 2008-05-23T07:07:55Z 2007
dc.description.abstract 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. en
dc.format.extent 349451 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.identifier.citation Karusseit, C 2007, 'Victorian domestic interiors as subliminal space', South African Journal of Art History, vol. 22, no. 3, pp 168-182. [] en
dc.identifier.issn 0258-3542
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Art Historical Work Group of South Africa en
dc.rights Art Historical Work Group of South Africa en
dc.subject Victorian en
dc.subject Domestic space en
dc.subject Respectability en
dc.subject Decoration en
dc.subject Ornament en
dc.subject.lcsh Decoration and ornament -- Victorian style en
dc.subject.lcsh Interior decoration -- England -- History -- 19th century en
dc.title Victorian domestic interiors as subliminal space en
dc.type Article en

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