Description

Demand for luxury goods, such as the sofa depicted here, rocketed during the second half of the 18th century due to rising personal wealth and aspirations to own the increasing range of consumer goods on offer. This newly forged consumption culture was evident at all levels of society, in tea and coffee drinking, for example, and the wearing of finely printed cotton clothing. It included a demand for a dizzying array of household goods such as cutlery, china, fine furniture, watches, snuff boxes, books and prints. This taste for luxury was also noted in other cultural fields: theatre-going and the commercialisation of leisure. Though much of this behaviour was driven by mercantile elites, new tastes in fashion trickled down rapidly to the lower classes. Cheaper versions of furniture and fabrics became available, designed to appeal to purchasers much further down the social order.

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