Events Shopping for the home in Georgian Dublin (Talk 5)

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Shopping for the home in Georgian Dublin (Talk 5)

08.11.2022, 18:30 P.M.

Shopping for the home in Georgian Dublin: retail, taste and morality by Sarah Foster, Lecturer in History of Design at MTU Crawford College of Art & Design.

Abstract: Sarah Foster’s illustrated talk draws on many archival sources to offer glimpses of how our forebears may have gone about the endlessly fascinating task of ‘doing up’ their homes in the late 18th and early 19thcentury. Shopping as a leisure activity in the smartest parts of Dublin was clearly in the ascendant as the 18th century drew to a close but individual shops, and the range and type of goods supplied, remain shadowy. Purchases of furniture, silver or textiles rarely merit detailed description in the few personal account books which survive, but diaries, letters or novels can offer tantalising glimpses of how Dubliners negotiated ‘custom’ and ‘fashion’ when choosing between Irish or foreign goods. Sarah will first briefly outline how Dublin’s commercial heart developed between 1760 and 1820, then discuss how some relatively obscure residents of Georgian Ireland shopped for their homes.

Image: Billhead Barlow Trumble shop, 1796 (copyright New York Public Library)

Sarah Foster, Lecturer in History of Design at MTU Crawford College of Art & Design, is an educator, historian, critic and curator who lectures in the history and theory of visual culture across the Contemporary Applied Art and Fine Art programmes. Sarah’s primary research concerns the histories of making, retailing and consuming and her teaching encompasses design history, art history and contemporary themes within visual culture. A history graduate, Sarah worked in fine art and film, then gained an M.A. in design history at the Royal College of Art, London; while there, she co-founded Things, an acclaimed new design history journal, and worked at the V&A Museum. Sarah has lectured widely, and written for a broad range of scholarly publications, on the histories of shopping, the domestic interior, and identity. She also consults for the National Museum and the Department of Education, and peer reviews books and journal articles for academic publishers in the UK and USA, as well as Ireland.

Sarah Foster

This is the fifth talk in the Irish Georgian Society's autumn lecture series, Georgian Homes: material culture of the domestic interior in 18th century Ireland which explores the material culture of the Irish Georgian house, in both town and country, focusing on interior decoration, furniture and fine art. The talks will examine the manner in which these furnishings and decorations responded to the use of the interior spaces by their inhabitants; reveal the influences on their stylistic evolution; reflect on the province and economics of materials and manufacturing methods; and consider how the presentation of decorative finishes and objects in domestic settings acted as social signifiers of the inhabitants’ taste and status. The talks, which will examine the presentation and decoration of the homes of the elite and ‘middling’ sorts, will provide an overview of objects and collections that were designed and manufactured by native and foreign craftsmen and artisans, both in Ireland and abroad.

This lecture series forms an action of the Irish Georgian Society’s Conservation Education Programme, which is supported by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and The Heritage Council. The Irish Georgian Society wishes to acknowledge the sponsorship of Ecclesiastical Insurance.

For further architectural events in Ireland visit the Ireland Architecture Diary


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