“Any Lady Can Do This without Much Trouble…”: Class and Gender in The Dining Room (1878)

Ferry, Emma ORCID: 0000-0002-1295-8430 (2014) “Any Lady Can Do This without Much Trouble…”: Class and Gender in The Dining Room (1878). Interiors, 5 (2). pp. 141-159. doi:10.2752/204191214X14038639021126

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Macmillan's “Art at Home” series (1876–83) was a collection of domestic advice manuals. Mentioned in every study of the late-nineteenth-century domestic interior, they have often been interpreted, alongside contemporary publications such as Charles Eastlake's Hints on Household Taste (1868), as indicators of late 1870s home furnishing styles. Mrs Loftie's The Dining Room (1878) was the series' fifth book and it considers one of the home's principal (and traditionally masculine) domestic spaces. Recent research on middle-class cultural practices surrounding food has placed The Dining Room within the tradition of Mrs Beeton's Household Management (1861); however, it is not a cookery book and hardly mentions dinners. Drawing upon unpublished archival sources, this paper charts the production and reception of The Dining Room, aiming to unravel its relationships with other contemporary texts and to highlight the difficulties of using it as historical evidence. While it offers fascinating insights into contemporary taste, class and gender, this paper suggests that, as an example of domestic design advice literature, it reveals far more about the often expedient world of nineteenth-century publishing practices.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: domestic advice literature; dining room; class; gender
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Research Priority Areas: Creative Practice and Theory
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2023 16:46
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2023 16:46
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/12471

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