Consuming the country house: from acquisition to presentation

15 December, 2011 (All day)
An illustration of a country house

 

The country house can be seen as a palimpsest: generations of owners adding their own material objects and layers of meaning. This presents challenges to both historians and curators – how to understand the relationship between new and old goods; how to assess the meaning of goods in different contexts, and how to present a coherent narrative of the house and its contents to the visitor today. Linked to this is the need to see the country house as dynamic: a lived and living space which was consciously transformed according to fashion or personal taste, but which was also changed by accident, decay and dispersal. Moreover, the country house was a nexus of flows as goods were brought in from the estate, the surrounding area and more distant centres – most notably London. How do these links shape our understanding and interpretation of the country house? In paying more attention to the processes of consumption, attention is focused on social and economic aspects