Decoding the domestic interior in British portraits, seminar, 28 June 2017


Portrait of Bell and Dorothy Freeman by Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914). Purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund.


This seminar for scholars and museum professionals seeks to explore some key themes around the nature of domestic interiors as found in British portraits from the early modern period to the present day. How can we start to interpret the pictorial world in which portrait sitters are placed? Are such spaces representations of contemporary interiors, or are they fictional spheres which – like pose, costume, and props – serve to convey coded messages about the sitters? By exploring portraits in various media throughout this period, speakers will consider these questions, helping interiors and portrait researchers to understand these mediated artistic constructs and interpret the contemporary symbolism within.

This event is a collaboration between the Histories of Home and the Understanding British Portraits Subject Specialist Networks. It is aimed at researchers, academics, and museum professionals engaged with portraiture, or historical and modern interiors. Papers will include scholarly case studies as well as contributions from museum professionals using portraits as a research tool, and engaging audiences in design history through the use of historic portraits.

The event will take place at the Geffrye Museum of the Home.

PDF: Decoding the Domestic Interior in British Portraits 28 June ’17 – programme

PDF download: Decoding the domestic interior in British portraits 28 June ’17 – booking form


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