Romanticism: Women and Sexuality in ‘Christabel’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) frames Christabel (1816) within Gothicism, extending on the occult forces of the “Other” embodied by women. Coleridge had written on the presentation of female characters in Gothic literature stating that they were either models of ‘trembling innocence’ or of ‘shameless harlotry’[1]. This statement correlates with a view within the sphere of … Continue reading Romanticism: Women and Sexuality in ‘Christabel’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Romanticism: Women and Sexuality in ‘Kubla Khan’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) writes Kubla Khan (1816) in a mode of escapism which was compatible with the Romantic attitude in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Kubla Khan is composed with allusions to the exotic, foreign and erotic, all which are elements of the poem’s pervading Orientalism. Drawing on connotations of “Otherness”, the … Continue reading Romanticism: Women and Sexuality in ‘Kubla Khan’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Musings: The Concept of “Femininity” and the Rococo Style

With the rococo, given the social climate contemporary to that time in history, you cannot help but notice that the scenes and embellishments demonstrate the nuances of taste, decoration and aesthetic influenced and informed by women. It was the Earl of Shaftesbury who, in, 1713 denounced the Rococo style as “a revolting form exalting Sensation … Continue reading Musings: The Concept of “Femininity” and the Rococo Style

Displaying Porcelain in the 17th and 18th Centuries

The porcelain displays of William and Mary were prevalent on a lesser scale (in terms of grandeur, moving on from the baroque palace) in the Dutch interior of the 17th century where Chinese pieces were a desirable luxury and a popular commodity among the affluent [1]. Here, choice examples of an eclectic variety (vases, bowls, … Continue reading Displaying Porcelain in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Porcelain, Palaces and the Dutch Influence in 17th Century England

Royal incentive enabled trends to catch across Europe in the interests of fashion and Queen Mary II and King William III's arrival in England as co-regents swore in the Dutch decorative taste, fresh from their residences in the Netherlands. The King and Queen's collection of palaces followed the sequential pattern of those in France, decked … Continue reading Porcelain, Palaces and the Dutch Influence in 17th Century England

Light Reading: Afternoon Tea Week

Hooray Henry! Its Afternoon Tea Week. A decidedly English habit with its own ritual, Afternoon Tea truly puts the gentility into polite society. At any rate, tea, along with luxury commodities like sugar and porcelain was formerly the preserve of the well-heeled and for the curious modern reader, promises a chequered history of questionable morals. … Continue reading Light Reading: Afternoon Tea Week

Musings: Boucher, Women and Ownership in Rococo Painting

The open display of the female body in the private arts becomes synonymous with questions of ownership. Boucher’s painting of the nude is intimately bound with the patron. In the 18th century, sensual scenes involving European mistresses serve to demonstrate what Cavendish identifies as a “contemporary vogue for erotic intrigue among the French nobility”. Jean … Continue reading Musings: Boucher, Women and Ownership in Rococo Painting

Tastes and Collecting: Augustus II & The Japanese Palace

Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland greatly patronised the decorative arts as a matter of kingly acquisitions and the cultural flourishing of Dresden. Here, his investment across various residences was in accord with the extravagance of Baroque court life and a symbol of power. Augustus the Strong's establishment of the exquisitely gilded Green … Continue reading Tastes and Collecting: Augustus II & The Japanese Palace