The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum’s online archive provides an invaluable repository of images of European domestic interiors, mainly dating from the early 19th century.
We particularly like these two watercolours, dated c.1842, which are a deadringers for a typical Dublin interior of that time, as might be found on Belvedere Place or Lennox Street in Dublin’s growing network of post-Georgian residential thoroughfares.
Stand-out features include typical bullseye chimneypieces, frothy William IV mirrors, oil-fulled chandeliers, fitted carpets and tobacco coloured joinery.
1830-1845 is a relatively unstudied period of domestic decoration, marking the transition from a spartan Georgian aesthetic to the densely packed spaces of the age of Victoriana and the Industrial Revolution.
Arguably, the era could be described as having the ‘best of both’ – when furniture was more robustly architectural than the Regency period but was allowed to express itself within relatively uncluttered rooms. All was to change with the mass production of the consumer age that subsequently ensued….
Note how the rooms are arranged with relatively lightweight furniture, allowing chairs and flip-top tea tables to be moved around the room to follow natural light from the windows or heat from the fire. Both rooms feature older hob grates, rather than more efficient register grates developed in the 1850s, necessitating furnishings that could be moved closer to the fire on colder days or in the evening.
Have a browse of the online Thaw Collection of interior prints (set amongst the same collection’s suite of model staircases!) – all available in glorious high resolution.