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'At Home' in Town and Country: 18th Century Domestic Interiors

This 10-week evening course examines the interior design and decoration of 18th century English homes.

In the 1770s, Edward Gibbon wrote ‘I have now attained the comforts of life – a convenient well-furnished house’. In the 18th century, a well-furnished house in either the town or the country was essential. It was a sign of the owner’s social status and taste. In the 18th century ‘at homes’ were a new, fashionable form of domestic entertainment. Small groups of invited guests would arrive at intervals throughout the late morning and afternoon for tea and polite conversation. More people began to turn their attention towards the domestic interior, the way in which rooms were decorated, furnished and used. This course will use the V&A’s collections, contemporary literature and paintings to gain insight into the 18th century domestic interior within their social contexts.

‘At Home’ in Town and Country: 18th Century Domestic Interiors has been developed with Birkbeck Faculty of Continuing Education, University London. It is aimed at adults without specialist knowledge of the subjects covered and is open to anyone with an interest and enthusiasm for study.

The course is taught by a combination of lectures, seminars, group discussion and gallery visits. Students will be encouraged submit some written work or complete a self-assessment report on their achievements. Students completing the coursework may submit this as part of the Birkbeck Certificate in General Studies.

Course taught by Dr Karen Lipsedge.

Tickets: Full rate: £70.00. Concessionary rates: Pensioners whose sole or main income is the DHSS state pension, anyone in receipt of state benefit: £35. Free places: A free place can be offered to a carer accompanying a registered disabled person.


Dr. Karen Lipsedge | talks


Date and Time:

22 September 2004 at 6:45 pm





Victoria and Albert Museum (learning)
Learning and Interpretation
The V&A Museum, Cromwell Road
+44 20 79 42 21 89

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Available from:

To book, please contact Birkbeck Continuing Education on 020 7631 6652. Birkbeck accepts postal enrolments from 23 June and by phone from 30 June.

Additional Information:

This ten-week course begins on 22 September and runs until 24 November 2004.

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