Friday, 8 August 2014

Exhibitions, Elephants and Empire

Temporary Assistant Curator Hilary Davidson has been impressed by the wide variety of publications which draw on research using the collections of the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA).  Last month she gave a quick round up; here’s a further selection of some recent highlights

Objects from MoDA’s collections have been loaned to a number of exhibitions over the last few years, and in many cases have been illustrated in the catalogues too.  We loaned objects to the V&A’s major exhibition The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900  which feature in the catalogue. The show – and MoDA objects – toured to Paris and San Francisco.

Art for Art's Sake: the Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900  was a version of The Cult of Beauty which toured to Japan. The beautifully produced catalogue is only available in Japanese, in Japan – unless you’d like to consult MoDA’s reference copy. More objects from our collection featured in the dual English and Japanese language catalogues for another Japan-based show, the 2012 exhibition Katagami Style: Paper Stencils and Japonisme in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Dr Dianne Lawrence turned her Lancaster University PhD thesis into a book: Genteel Women. Empire and domestic material culture, 1840-1910, exploring ways in which ‘women's values, as expressed through their personal and household possessions, specifically their … living rooms, gardens and food, were instrumental in constructing various forms of genteel society’ across the British Empire. MoDA objects helped her to formulate her arguments.

Finally, we’re looking forward to reading the results of regular MoDA researcher Dr Deborah Sugg-Ryan’s  work when she publishes The Inter-War Home and Suburban Modernity:  The Architecture, Design and Decoration of the Semi-Detached House in England  later this year. Deborah has been giving glimpses of her work on Twitter. Her current conference paper ‘The elephant on the mantelpiece: The interwar suburban home & the detritus of Empire’ uses a 1937 fireplace catalogue to think about the material culture of empire within the suburban home. 

If this has inspired you to do your own research using MoDA's collections please email Maggie Wood to arrange an appointment.

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