William Hogarth: The Strodes Family
The Idea of the Home
During holiday times, such as the winter season of festivities that many of us are enjoying right now, a substantial number of people travel sometimes large distances to re-connect and celebrate with other relatives back at their families’ homes. This led to my reflecting not so much about the reality of the home, as the idea of the home. The conception of the home, or “hominess,” evolved over a period of many centuries. By the early 1500s, domestic life was rather austere, but had come to reflect a sense of intimacy and privacy. On the other hand, if we were to have asked any of them if they felt comfortable where they lived, they would have been puzzled by the question and unable to answer. The first appearance of the word “comfort” to mean a level of domestic contentment is not reported until the eighteenth century.
One illustration of this new found sense of domestic comfort is shown above in William Hogarth’s painting of an early Georgian interior. Notice how the softened furniture complemented the rich costumes of the time and served as counterparts to the billowing gowns worn by women, as well as to the finely embroidered coats and wigs of the men.
The slightly pompous interiors also reflected the clothing fashions of the time. Skirted chairs and gathered draperies reflected the details of how cloth had come to be used in skirts and gowns; wallpaper often copied the designs used in fabrics. The lavish Art Deco furniture reflected the homeowners’ own luxurious garments.
My personal thought for each of you who has been able to spend time re-connecting with loved ones is to always remember that home is where all of us started from. I very deeply hope that going back provided you with strong feelings of warmth and deep affection.
There’s Just No Place Like Home
Michael Buble: Home
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