Ritualism and the aesthetic interior

Cheshire, Jim (2006) Ritualism and the aesthetic interior. In: BAVS conference 2006, Victorian Cultures in Conflict, 7-9 Sep 2006, Liverpool University, UK.

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Abstract

Both Aestheticism and Ritualism were sites of conflict in late Victorian culture. Opponents of both movements had little doubt that they were connected and both were characterised as superficial rather that sincere, visual rather than textual and effeminate rather than manly. Despite the links made by contemporary critics, recent scholars normally treat the Aesthetic Movement as a secular trend. This paper will question this assumption by examining the common ground between the two movements through an examination of the designers and material culture associated with them.
Much of the literature that urged people to beautify their homes can be connected to the Anglican Church: William Loftie, editor of the Art at Home series, was a clergyman and Mrs Haweis, famous for her descriptions of Aesthetic homes, was married to a flamboyant cleric who had served as a curate in a well known Ritualist church. Ritualists and Aesthetes were often supplied by the same manufacturers and many objects and media developed for ecclesiastical interiors were adapted to suit more secular settings. Both areas were served by innovative retailers: the department stores, which had developed the capacity to sell entire interior schemes, were paralleled by church furnishing companies whose increasingly elaborate catalogues offered everything that could be desired for a church. At the top end of the market some companies supplied both sectors. Morris and Co., the best known example, initially relied heavily on the ecclesiastical market before moving in a more secular direction. It is likely that many people who lived in aesthetic interiors also frequented Ritualist churches, many of which were sited in the affluent suburbs commonly associated with the Aesthetic Movement.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Additional Information:Both Aestheticism and Ritualism were sites of conflict in late Victorian culture. Opponents of both movements had little doubt that they were connected and both were characterised as superficial rather that sincere, visual rather than textual and effeminate rather than manly. Despite the links made by contemporary critics, recent scholars normally treat the Aesthetic Movement as a secular trend. This paper will question this assumption by examining the common ground between the two movements through an examination of the designers and material culture associated with them. Much of the literature that urged people to beautify their homes can be connected to the Anglican Church: William Loftie, editor of the Art at Home series, was a clergyman and Mrs Haweis, famous for her descriptions of Aesthetic homes, was married to a flamboyant cleric who had served as a curate in a well known Ritualist church. Ritualists and Aesthetes were often supplied by the same manufacturers and many objects and media developed for ecclesiastical interiors were adapted to suit more secular settings. Both areas were served by innovative retailers: the department stores, which had developed the capacity to sell entire interior schemes, were paralleled by church furnishing companies whose increasingly elaborate catalogues offered everything that could be desired for a church. At the top end of the market some companies supplied both sectors. Morris and Co., the best known example, initially relied heavily on the ecclesiastical market before moving in a more secular direction. It is likely that many people who lived in aesthetic interiors also frequented Ritualist churches, many of which were sited in the affluent suburbs commonly associated with the Aesthetic Movement.
Keywords:Architecture
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K120 Interior Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Architecture
ID Code:1270
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:04 Oct 2007
Last Modified:08 Mar 2012 12:34

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