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Events Upholstered Domestic Interiors in Britain & Ireland (Talk 6)

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Upholstered  Domestic Interiors in Britain & Ireland (Talk 6)

15.11.2022, 18:30 P.M.

From Baroque to Regency: The finishing touch in the upholstered domestic interior in Britain and Ireland by Annabel Westman, author of Fringe, Frog and Tassel; The Art of the Trimmings-Maker in Interior Decoration (2019)

Abstract: Textiles and their trimmings were together integral to the furnishing of the Georgian domestic interior. From the exuberance of the Baroque to the extravagance of the Regency eras, they defined fashion in their usage, colour and texture. This talk will concentrate in particular on these two distinctive periods and show how the type and treatment of fabrics and their decoration were used to express status and hierarchy on wallhangings, beds, curtains and seat furniture. It will include two early nineteenth century examples (Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh and Attingham Park, Shropshire) where such exorbitant prices were paid by their respective owners that both faced financial ruin.

Biography: Annabel Westman FSA is Director Emeritus of The Attingham Trust for the study of historic houses and collections and was its Executive Director until 2020. She is a textile historian and consultant and for the last 40 years has worked on a broad range of significant restoration projects for heritage bodies and museums. She lectures on historic furnishing textiles, has published widely in several academic journals and is author of Fringe, Frog and Tassel; The Art of the Trimmings-Maker in Interior Decoration (National Trust & PWP, 2019).

Annabel Westman

Image: Annabel Westman assessing the State Bed at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire.

Image: Original chintz and tassels supplied for the Dining Room at Castle Coole, c.1811 (photo by Byran Rutledge courtesy of the Earl of Belmore)

This is the sixth 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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