In 1807 Thomas Hope published this collection of interior designs. It introduced the phrase ‘interior decoration’ into the English language for the first time.
Hope, a designer of furniture and interiors, drew these large, simple line designs from the rooms of his own house in Duchess Street, London. His elaborately designed and furnished home was open to selected members of the public, and gained somewhat of a cult status within fashionable circles. Hope's success was due, in part, to the influence that this book produced.
Popular and influential, Hope helped to define Regency interior fashions. With his designs Hope was determined to transform British style, striving for a modern yet classical aesthetic. Embellishment, layout, colour and material were all equally important.
Hope’s highly ornamented designs ooze luxury. Owing to their complexity, they would have required highly skilled craftsmen to execute them. Although Hope does not specify colour or material type, it is implied that only the finest, highest-quality should be used. Contemporary drawings and descriptions reveal that Hope’s Duchess Street house was vividly rich and colourful.
During Hope’s extensive travelling, which included the Grand Tour route, the designer collected objects and inspiration from across the world. In his designs we can identify Egyptian, Indian and Grecian influences. These different styles juxtapose to produce unique and surprising effects. This daring approach to combination is also evident in Hope’s fondness for contrasting the ancient – in the form of statues, vases, ‘borrowed’ colours and patterns – with the modern – such as newly designed furniture.
- Article by:
- Kathryn Sutherland
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Jane Austen fills her novels with ordinary people, places and events, in stark contrast to other novels of the time. Professor Kathryn Sutherland considers the function of social realism in Austen’s work.