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'Furniture is a kind of dress' : interiors as projection of self

By Mark Taylor


The nineteenth-century bourgeois interior was one of the few locations available for women's self-expression; an expression that can be read as the conceptual conflation of women and interiors. Women decorated rooms as a reflection of self, individuality and eventually personality. They decorated and ornamented in parallel with their own bodies and clothes, extending one into the other. This paper discusses one early example of this body centred reading of a spatial terrain and proposes that the metaphoric relationship between woman and interior was a philosophical position evident in the writings of the nineteenth-century art critic and suffrage campaigner Mary Haweis. It develops an argument for the interior as both a mirroring of the body and a projection of the domestic body into its environment. This position critiques the notion of the interior as something distinct from the body, and transcends language that exclusively describes women’s bodies as portraying the adornment of home

Topics: 120101 Architectural Design, 120106 Interior Design, Aesthetic theory, architectural philosophy, interior design
Publisher: Society of Archtectural Historians Australia and New Zealand
Year: 2006
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