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Title: Consumption of furniture and furnishings for the home in the West Midlands using local suppliers 1760-1860
Author: Ponsonby, Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0001 2417 0539
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2001
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Using a framework of design history and theories of consumption, the production, ownership and use of furniture and furnishings is examined, to obtain an understanding of the material culture of the home, its physical reality and cultural meaning. Homes during the period 1760-1860 are the focus for study. During this period homes changed considerably. At the outset interiors were relatively bare despite the gradual accumulation of consumer goods during the eighteenth century. By contrast, at the close of the period interiors had become more crowded and comfortable, this was mainly due to the increased use and the methods of using textiles. This has been called the feminisation of interiors. How social and cultural changes affected provincial homes is studied, firstly by analysing the furniture trade for a number of towns in the West Midlands which experienced different social and commercial development. Secondly, examples of homemaking are examined using consumers who lived throughout the region. Provincial taste of the middling sort is the main focus of study, rather than the metropolitan and elite forms of consumption which have often attracted more attention. Sources are utilised which span the period 1760-1860 to allow the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries to be treated in a similar fashion, emphasising the gradual evolution of social and cultural developments. Four factors are identified as influencing consumer choice; location, class, lived experience and gender. Rather than making use of quantitative analysis, which produces generalised averages, qualitative analysis is used which prioritises consumers as individuals and allows the symbolic meanings of homemaking to be explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History